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22 delegations to address Regina city council about controversial fossil fuel sponsorship motion

Regina’s city council has a long list of people waiting to speak on its fossil fuel sponsorship policy.

Regina city council will hear from 22 delegations on the sponsorship and naming policy on Jan. 27. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

Twenty-two delegations are set to speak to Regina city council today about a heated sponsorship motion.

At the executive committee meeting a week ago, councillors voted 7-4 in favour of a motion that would prevent fossil fuel companies from sponsoring city events, advertising or buying naming rights for city buildings. 

On Monday, Ward 6 councillor Dan LeBlanc — who introduced the motion — Ward 9 councillor Shanon Zachidniak, Ward 9 councillor Jason Mancinelli and Ward 10 councillor Landon Mohl publicly said they were either withdrawing their support or changing their vote.

The sponsorship policy is expected to be changed this afternoon so fossil fuel producers will be able to sponsor city events or advertise on city buildings. City administration says in a report that these sponsorships are expected to produce between $100,000 to $250,000 in net revenue annually for the city. 

Twenty-two delegation groups and individuals have applied to speak to city council on the topic, including Pam Skotnitsky with Federated Co-operatives Limited (which operates the Regina Co-op Refinery), Shobna Radons with the Regina and District Labour council, Tim McMillan with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and Valerie Sluth with the Saskatchewan Winter Games. 

The Afternoon Edition – Sask5:50Regina councillor receives ‘very nasty messages’ over fossil fuel sponsorship motion

Regina city councillor Dan LeBlanc talks about his motion to add fossil fuel companies to a list of groups who are unable to advertise or receive naming rights on city property. LeBlanc also addresses what he calls legitimate concerns from residents, as well as the hateful messages he received. 5:50

The heated fossil fuel change isn’t the only adjustment planned for the policy.

Previously political parties or candidates could advertise or sponsor events as long as they indicated who it was paid by. Now the the city is looking at not soliciting or accept sponsorship or advertising from parties or candidates. 

City report could create process for allowing more downtown temporary parking lots

City council will also discuss a report showing that 46.7 per cent of Regina’s private land downtown is currently either surface parking or structured parkades. It all adds up to an estimated 16,100 parking stalls. 

If approved, the report would create a new process for approving further downtown lots and decommissioning lots when the allotted time ran out. 

The report was commissioned by the previous city council in August. It had asked city administration to look into amending the official Design Regina community plan to accommodate temporary surface parking lots. 

A report by city administration highlights in yellow structured parkades, in blue surface parking lots and in pink temporary parking lots. (City of Regina)

City administration looked into allowing lots for three to five years, researched how other cities consider downtown surface lots and consulted with the Regina and Downtown Business Improvement District, downtown property owners and developers. Administration also looked into how to decommission a temporary parking lot.

Regina city councils have previously approved three temporary parking lots. The report shows none of them went on to be developed as expected. 

One such site is at 1755 Hamilton Street. It was approved as a three-year temporary parking lot in 2012, but was supposed to be developed afterward. It remains a vacant lot. 

A second is at 1840 Lorne Street. In 2015, it was approved for a three-year term. In 2019, another three-year term was approved. It is still a parking lot. 

A city report said that more parking lots could cause several demolitions in Regina’s downtown if left uncontrolled. (Aldo Columpsi/CBC)

“There is a risk that allowing surface parking lots, even on a temporary basis, would cause several demolitions downtown if left uncontrolled,” city administration said in the report. 

Administration is recommending limiting future temporary surface parking lots and creating an underutilized land improvement strategy to redevelop existing sites.

About the Author

Heidi Atter is a journalist working in Regina. She started with CBC Saskatchewan after a successful internship and has a passion for character-driven stories. Heidi has worked as a reporter, web writer, associate producer and show director so far, and has worked in Edmonton, at the Wainwright military base, and in Adazi, Latvia. Story ideas? Email heidi.atter@cbc.ca.

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