Friday, 30 August 2013

Labour Day - Do You Know What It Means?

Good evening Regina!!

On this long weekend, how many of us truly understand just what "Labour Day" is all about? I got to asking myself this very question today, and I researched it, and it's surprisingly still very relevant in today's culture, at least in Regina anyways. Where the City of Regina is waging battle against the "labour movement" supported by Canada's biggest union CUPE and the Regina Water Watch (RWW) campaign (in essence making it "unionized labour" vs "corporate greed"). What the City doesn't quite understand, though, is that a good majority of those in favour of the petition movement either have nothing to do with a union, or have no other affiliation to CUPE (myself included) other than simply signing a petition that the RWW folks were gracious enough to distribute.

What's better is that, because of everything that Mayor Fougere and the Council Stooges continue to do (publicly berate, harass and malign honest taxpaying citizens), they have made activists of many that would never have dreamed in a million years of becoming anything remotely close to that. And, it's really quite easy to become one. Just stand up for what you believe in, don't back down or give into pressure that is put on you from these evil, corrupt politicians and "senior administrators" of our fine City Hall. That's it.

If enough of us do just that, that can and will be enough to topple the sand castle that Fiacco built and Fougere is stepping on, inadvertently. It's enough to make the desperate changes in our City that are necessary to bring our property taxes, water rates, and so much more down to a much more reasonable level so we don't have to worry about where that next rent payment is going to come from, or if you'll be able to have water next month because we're paying through the NOSE for Water in Regina - along with the Recycling Fee conveniently added onto the Water bills.


Remember, this is YOUR CITY. This is YOUR VOICE. And, I'll continue to be YOUR SOLUTION to make Regina everything that it can be and so much more!!

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Mayor Fougere "Teleconference" Robocall - REALLY?!?!

Good morning Regina!!!

I honestly cannot believe the City of Regina continues to stoop even lower and lower. With every move they make, they piss more taxpayers off, and get more people to become the truest form of grassroots activists. If you were unfortunate enough to sit through and suffer from the hour long "conference call" staged by Mayor Fougere (and company) tonight, you have my deepest sympathies. Thankfully, my household only have cell phones, and even at that, I'm sure we are on their "Don't even THINK about calling him" list!

Here is a brief rundown of what happened from someone who commented on Prairie Dog Magazine tonight. Truly, truly disgusting. I feel bad for the people that fall for this complete bullshit.

"Just experienced the most deceptive “conference call” of all time. Angry air quote warning ahead…

It was presented as if Mayor Fougere was “taking questions” from the public.

Great! Our household submitted 2 questions for each phone and waited.

The “moderator” kept prompting the “audience” for questions.

Strange, since we were waiting for our turns to come up. Why keep asking for questions when you already have people waiting?

Then we noticed every “question” seemed to not be a question at all, but a softball way for Fougere to make certain bullship points.

Questions like a fake “business owner” calling to find out how much extra businesses will have to pay if we vote yes, and a fake home owner asking him to remind us that the only way to get federal money is if we vote no (false).

We noticed every “caller” would emphasize some stupid talking point in their question. Like the one who said it would be hard for economically strapped households to pay an extra $276 more in these hard times.

Oddly every second caller was very complimentary of Mayor Fougere using this method to help interact with the citizens.

By the time it got to the fake “citizen” was asking if there is any deadline to upgrade the plant (duh) and the one guy asking “how can the average person help get the message out there to vote no” we realized we’d been deceived and tricked by City Hall yet again.

I had been wondering how they could possibly waste $350,000 in such a short time. Having been through this hour commercial, I’m not wondering any more.

Whoever thinks this kind of devious stuff up should have to spend eternity in hell married to whoever approves this kind of immoral stunt."

Monday, 19 August 2013

FACT: Other Federal Funds Available for WWTP

Good evening Regina!!

Another weekend gone by, and another week closer to the referendum. With that said, I want to make sure that you become as informed as possible before heading to the polls on September 25, 2013. BUT - Don't forget that there are still many, many other things going on at City Council this month and next that you really shouldn't divert your attention from. This week, for example, is the big one that many have been waiting years for. The Design Regina Official Community Plan is being discussed at tomorrow's City Council Meeting, and potentially the new Bylaw could be put into effect. There are a few delegations to speak on this plan, and hopefully City Council can be convinced to slow down the process for a bit. Wait until they actually have had time to discuss important factors in this plan, that can and will affect the citizens of Regina for decades to come.

Also, they will be discussing the proposed Land Annexation plans from the RM of Sherwood on Thursday. And, by the looks of the delegations, this should be a pretty heated meeting, or at least it shouldn't go without some pretty detailed discussion on it. This is the one and only City Council meeting where, if you are so inclined, you can speak at will, with no prepared speech, on this very subject. Just show up that evening, fill out a request to delegate (speak) and the floor will be yours for up to ten full minutes. Your speech should remain on topic as much as possible, and please refrain from applauding or booing any other delegations, as much as you might want to.

Finally tonight, regarding the ongoing Wastewater Treatment Plant Referendum. The City of Regina will lead you to believe that - if you Vote YES - you will be saying "goodbye" to $58.5 Million in the only Federal Funding available to Regina, and as such, will have to make up the shortfall on your utility bills by adding $276/household for the next four years. Is this true? Would Regina Water Watch be so ignorant to reality, that they would want to jeopardize this alleged "free money" from the Federal Government?? I can assure you that this is, in fact, 100% FALSE.

Why would I be so bold as to call the City of Regina Senior Administrators and City Council LIARS? Because, there are more than enough examples of similar projects being conducted currently, and also in the works, or recently completed, where other Federal (AND Provincial) Funds have, indeed, been accessed. Now, are we talking small money? Absolutely not! In fact, in this most recent example, the Federal Government is putting up $51.5M of the total $158.5M project through the Green Infrastructure Funding Program, while the Province of Ontario is matching the Federal contribution, leaving the remaining $55.5M for the RM/City to fund. Now, keep in mind, this project is about double the size of Regina's WWTP upgrades, and also adds a Tertiary System to the equation, which we in Regina already have had for years.

This is just one of the many Federal Funding programs that the City of Regina very well could have applied for towards the WWTP Upgrades. There are some that may say "but these programs are no longer available" - what one needs to keep in mind is that the City of Regina has been working on these WWTP Upgrade Plans for nearly a decade now. YOU decide who is telling the full truth here.

Remember Regina, on September 25th:
Vote Yes - Vote No - Just #VoteInformed

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Deceptive Advertising - Who's Worse?

Good morning Regina!!!

I feel this is very important to share with everyone. There were some shots fired recently by the City of Regina and Mayor Fougere when CUPE posted a full page ad in the Leader Post showing a little girl drinking water. They said this was a deliberately misleading ad. Maybe, maybe not. BUT, is the City of Regina immune to this kind of "misleading" advertising? I will let you decide by following this link, evidence of what the City of Regina HAS done in the past, and still currently do.

I asked around to see why these seemingly ridiculous ads were ever distributed in the first place, and it appears that these were in response to the Federal Government's new standards being implemented for Wastewater Treatment Facilities.
If this isn't irony in it's purest form, I don't know what is!

Finally today, here is a very informative video that demonstrates exactly how our Wastewater Treatment Facility operates, and is far more than "just sewage", as the City of Regina would lead you to believe

On September 25, be sure to VOTE. Vote Yes - Vote No - Just #VOTEINFORMED
This message brought to you by Chad A. Novak, CMA, on behalf of the Saskatchewan Taxpayers Advocacy Group.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Profit? What profit? Look...a bunny!

Good evening Regina!!!!

What a tremendous day it's been, and another amazing week. Every single day, heck every single hour, the City of Regina Senior Administration (the same ones who banned me from City Hall) trip over their own feet, and choke on their own words, and continue to bury themselves deeper and deeper with every word that comes out of their mouth. It doesn't help when you have RoboMayor in charge, or as he's beginning to be called on Twitter, the #1TermMayor.

What can I say? The legal action is going along very smoothly, and there should be some public information coming in the next couple weeks on that one. Suffice it to say, ladies and gentlemen, the "NEW" Regina I spoke about oh so few weeks ago is getting closer and closer to reality. And, the best part of it is: YOU will get to own your City once again!! Well, technically you already own it, but you certainly don't seem to get a say in how your tax dollars are being spent. (Insert RoboCalls and "Vote No" $340,000 campaign here)

So, I want to say this: I LOVE THE CBC!!! Yes, even despite the horrific report that Mr. Geoff Leo did on me in October 2012, the CBC is probably one of THE best media outlets in all of Regina!!! Say what you want about them, but they are one of the ONLY ones that ask the hard questions, and get the stuttering responses from our Mayor. Listen closely near the end of Mayor Fougere's interview. "How much profit is built into the contract?" "Uh uh uh...I don't have that in front of me. Uh I don't have the report in front of me. Ummm, I can get you more details." - You know EVERY OTHER DETAIL down to the minute penny on how much this is allegedly going to cost taxpayers, but you DON'T know the very simple fact of how much profit is to be made from this private company off of our wastewater??

Could it be because you are afraid to tell people that the contract has a MASSIVE profit built into it? Right off the top the cost was quoted as $120M up until July 2013, according to Enterprise Saskatchewan, yet you are applying for $58.5M from the Federal Government. Based on the P3 Canada information of funding up to 25%, this would indicate the total cost quoted to P3 Canada for the WWTP is $234M. So RIGHT AT THE BEGINNING the private company has $114M PURE PROFIT built into the initial price tag. Add to that whatever "savings" they can realize by cutting staff (unionized City staff for now), cutting corners that don't affect "measured standards", and the ability for City Council (aka the Private Company's best friend!) to set the utility rates, and you magically have MASSIVE profits to be made by the private company.

OH, and then there's the oh-so secretive $200M contract that the City of Regina signed with a Chinese company in July 2012 to sell our treated wastewater to a new potash mine in Milestone (where incidentally the Pedersens are apparently "the" notable family in that town - Rod Pedersen (Voice of Riders) and Reid Pedersen (VP at Evraz Place)).

Some MASSIVE profits to be made by the private company with next to no risk for them. Of course it's a no brainer. What does Fougere get out of it? Well, since he is the former head of the Saskatchewan Construction Association, I'll let you determine that correlation.

I will leave you with this: I find it poetic justice that the "Vote No" ad is on the same screen as the Pamela Wallin audit. Don't you?

Regina Taxpayers and Media: Please Ask the TOUGH Questions of Your Council!

Good evening Regina!

Hope everyone had a great day today, and an exciting evening if you were one of the 40,000 lucky ones to experience the SOLD OUT Paul McCartney concert! I didn't go myself, simply because he's simply not The Beatles, and it just doesn't seem the same on his own. I know, personal choice, but hey, that's life! Perhaps, deep down, I must have been afraid of the "crumbling stadium" that isn't able to host such large events without fear of mass panic! (Or so we've been told by certain elected officials and lobby groups)

Anyways, the big news today was obviously the WWTP Referendum Special Council Meeting, and I must say I was quite impressed with the turnout! Henry Baker Hall was 2/3 full and that's at 11:45am on a Wednesday! By far the busiest I had ever seen a mid-day meeting EVER. And there have been days when I literally have been the ONLY ONE in the gallery, other than a couple random City Admin folks monitoring the meeting.

So, what was the result of the meeting today? Well, certainly not what City Council was hoping for, I'm sure. Rather than focus on the "big" decision today of picking the type of polling to be conducted (by the way, they chose Option 1 - Same as the Municipal Election minus the Mobile and Special Polls - to be replaced by Mail-In ballots), the Media gave extra special attention to the one most contentious issue that has hit Regina in the past decade. Even while Pat Fiacco was Mayor, I don't think even HE took as much heat from the Media as Mayor Fougere did over this "Vote NO" campaign.

See, the problem for most people isn't the thought of City Council going out and spreading their propaganda and telling people to vote a certain way. No, that's not it at all. It's the fact that they are doing it on company time, AND using taxpayer money to do it. What's worse is they have also enlisted the help of the Communications Department - who have been alleged to be partially behind the anonymous Twitter parody accounts during the election - to spread that same propaganda. The cost? A WHOPPING THREE HUNDRED AND FOURTY THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!! Of YOUR tax dollars!! That's right folks, for the cost of an average new home in Regina, that takes you and I 25-30 years to pay off, the City of Regina has apparently authorized the spending of this massive sum over five short weeks, just to tell you how to vote. Not to give you the cold, hard facts. But - HOW TO VOTE. Ethical? Absolutely not! Criminal? That will be something the courts decide very soon. (Stay tuned for details on the ongoing legal action)

So, with all that said, it is pretty obvious that the City of Regina and our City Council (except for Councillor Shawn Fraser - he's pretty damn ballsy and I respect him for it) seem to not give a shit about democracy, the taxpayers, or even your tax dollars. Money that could easily feed hundreds of marginalized families in Regina is being redirected by City Administration/City Council/Mayor (?? - No one knows for sure, the Mayor didn't directly state "who" authorized this spending, but suggested the City Manager allegedly does have the authorization to spend it) to tell you how to vote.

Where do you come in? This is where YOU need to ask YOUR City Councillor and the Mayor of Regina (and Senior City Admin if you're lucky enough to have them actually speak to you) some of the hardest questions that any of them have had to face in over a decade. They are as follows, as per my Appendix A and B of today's Council Address:

APPENDIX A – Chad Novak Delegation August 14, 2013 Re: WWTP Referendum
Unanswered Waste Water Treatment Plant Questions from Dec 17, 2012 Council Meeting


Saturday, 10 August 2013

WWTP Unanswered Questions

Good morning Regina!!

Many months ago, long before this even became a public concern, I had addressed City Council regarding my concerns surrounding the Waste Water Treatment Plant upgrades. At that time, in December of 2012, it wasn't even publicly discussed about the possibility of the project becoming a P3. I had asked some very pointed questions to City Council, to which none were actually answered. I then followed up with an email to Dorian Wandzura to address these concerns, and he forwarded me the permit they have from the Province, and a letter from the Province apparently requiring them to build a new WWTP, even though in the Permit, it clearly states "construct or alter". Interesting to note is that these are apparent Federal Regulations, and the Province is only supposed to enforce those regulations, not necessarily advise a municipality how to abide by these alleged new regulations (by requiring them to build a new facility for example).

Also, note, it states the design life of the upgrade plant is 20 years. Not sure what the details are behind this, but if the contract for the P3 is 30 years, this should raise some red flags somewhere!

I replied to that email that this did not actually answer my questions, and his response was that he felt Council's questions were answered well enough, and noted that since I brought the matter up to Mayor Fougere, that my questions could be answered through him or any other elected official. Of course, I've never received any response since that day, from anyone at City Hall or on City Council.

So, what were the questions that still remain unanswered, to this very day? See Below:

Unanswered Waste Water Treatment Plant Questions from Dec 17, 2012 Council Meeting

- What has been done since 2008, and why the long delay in getting the project started?

- Now, let’s consider the fact that we overlooked a very serious, yet basic, issue like inflation, where the cost of this project went from $120 Million in 2008, to $150 Million, to $207 Million and beyond by 2015. During my research, I found that we already increased our debt level in 2008 to finance the original estimated $120 Million construction cost, so how are we expecting to make up the extra $87 Million+? Is this going to affect other major projects that we are currently considering and future projects?

- I am not sure if this has been talked about yet, but considering the fact that we recently entered into a contract to actually sell off our wastewater to a mining operation for $80 Million, I’m hoping this money will be used to directly offset any extra costs.

- The report notes that we will require at least $150M in debt financing to go ahead with this project, which I should note is $50M more than expected in 2008 (Which showed $100M of the $120M cost to be financed through debt). It also states that the inflation is based on current markets. An obvious concern is what if the inflation goes even higher, and the debt required is higher than our current debt ceiling?

- Assuming we still need to spend the $207M+ on the WWTP, which of our capital projects are going to take priority?

- It should also be noted that the report cautions that the allocation of City debt to this project will constrain the City’s ability to borrow for other major capital projects based on current borrowing limits and where existing debt is currently committed. As a result, it states that the City’s debt will need to be closely and strategically managed in the coming years. How can we, as taxpayers, feel secure in knowing that this debt is being strategically managed, other than taking your word? As your manager would reasonably expect to see from you, I would respectfully request something to show us that this is being planned for. We have several recent examples where planning wasn’t followed properly, and thus, I want to ensure we’ve actually learned from those projects. (Plaza, WWTP inflation, GTH?, CP Land Purchase, Pension Shortfall, etc.)

- We keep hearing that there is a significant infrastructure deficit in our City, what is the total cost to correct that deficit and what is our plan to address it?

- If these new regulations were coming into effect soon, I would reasonably expect other cities in Saskatchewan to be as concerned as Regina, as they should all be planning for the same regulations. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case. I researched Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Swift Current, and Yorkton. None of them seem to be spending on upgrades anywhere near our estimated $200M+. The Federal Government even stated that 75% of Canadian cities already meet or exceed future expectations, which is typically achieved by having a secondary treatment system, which we have already in place.

- In regards to recent funding and/or upgrades, I noticed on March 5, 2007, we received $3.3M in funding from the Federal Government towards a $12M upgrade at the WWTP. Also, in 2012, we budgeted $19.6 Million in upgrades to the Waste Water Treatment Plant. Were these done, and if so, were they a part of these retrofit upgrades, or separate?

- The report states that we are upgrading the facility to be capable of handling 258,000 people by 2035, which I see is what we have used as a benchmark for our Official Community Plan. This is a growth rate of 3,000 per year. While I commend the City for thinking big, I have to wonder is this realistic? Are we building something that we may not require for far longer?

- I have found that the Federal Government has said that the Federal Gas Tax Fund was intended to be used for projects such as this. How much of the Building Canada Fund and/or Gas Tax Fund have we used or are we using towards the WWTP Upgrades?