Wednesday, 15 January 2014

City & RM Annexation - Who Benefits?

Good evening Regina!!

Today, I came across a post written by none other than Mr. City Hall himself, Paul Dechene of the wonderful Prairie Dog Magazine. In it, Paul talks about some issues that should have been paid more attention to, one of which is something I've been monitoring quite closely for many months now. If you haven't had a chance to read his article, go check it out.

Below is my feedback on his article. On a related note, Mayor Nenshi is continuing the battle against a developer in Calgary. This is something that we must watch extra closely in Regina, as it is sure to rear it's ugly head right here at home - in due time.

Great work Paul, and I fully agree, there needs to be far more discussion surrounding the Annexation Plans, and just who is in whose pocket. It is far too suspect to have years of animosity allegedly "resolved" in only a matter of weeks - all the while one councillor RESIGNS, and another councillor refused to show up at probably THE most important RM Council meeting in years.

Speaking to some of the things you point out:

"Sherwood deputy reeve, Tim Probe, is pretty brazen about how Sherwood’s OCP will be what governs development within the Collaborative Planning Area and not the Regina’s"
- Exactly. I spoke with Mr. Probe and other RM reps that evening, and that was the feeling I got from them too. They are either deliberately ignoring reality for another purpose, or they are truly naive to think that the City is the one that will be doing the bending for the RM.

"The developer spent significant money trying to get his agenda through"
- Yep. This happens a lot in the Regina area - and many other municipalities going through the developer-infused "boom" times. And it helps when the developers put that money into the back pockets of those officials that are put into positions of trust and sole authority over millions of our tax dollars. Oh - and it doesn't hurt to prop a few up to run in elections and take advantage of voter apathy, to get put into ultimate authority with little to no accountability deemed necessary by legislation.

Keep in mind that you have the Reeve of the RM who holds most-if not all-of the land that is being proposed for Wascana Village, and a former Mayor that owns a whack of land in the soon-to-be-announced Harbour Landing West (along with friends, family and associates). Add to that, realtors and construction lobbyists on Regina City Council, and you have a perfect recipe for disaster. Okay, maybe not that doom and gloom, but it certainly is a recipe for cooking up an all-too-appetizing situation of market collusion that has been proposed to the municipal and provincial governments for over a decade now. Note that the "boom" (which has been primarily a result of - ironically - housing and immigration), began around the same time as the major land developments were happening, condo conversions were being allowed in droves, and demolition of affordable housing complexes were allowed "because there's nothing we can do", and I'm certain you can see why there NEEDS to be an audit and/or inquiry into the goings on of Regina City Council, RM of Sherwood Council and both Administrations.

I find that there are far too many "assume" "should be" "we think" comments in these interviews for a process that is supposed to be so set in stone, and everything was to be worked out in these private meetings that the public wasn't allowed to know a single thing on.

It is also very interesting to note, that the evening that the RM of Sherwood presented their OCP to the general public, Jason Carlston and Diana Hawryluk were there as well. What was funny, speaking candidly to Jason after the meeting, he claimed this was the first ever meeting he had attended, and the first time he'd seen their OCP. Funny - you'd think a planner would be more aware of what their neighbouring municipality is doing, especially if, in other interviews, he claimed the exact opposite. Just a piece of interesting info for your files.

It is quite comical how - after allegedly meeting in private and going through a mediator - the two parties seem to be so on opposite sides of the equation when you ask them each the exact same question. It certainly leads me to believe that the RM, once again, got the wool pulled over it from the Wolf that is the City of Regina. (I'm not excusing the RM by any means, just they ought to have thought more about WHY the City was so "interested" - now - in getting the annexation issues resolved) It's not in the best interests of taxpayers, but only for a select few who will profit - quite heavily I might add - from the manipulation of innocent, and often naive, taxpayers who see no wrong in anything these individuals do.

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