Paved Paradise Because Parking Was Already There

July 5th, 2016, after years of a mud pit following the rip-out of the previous playground:

University of Regina CW

Now it looks like this again:

College West reno playground removed

Reasoning given:

 A project of this scale requires a large site and staging area directly adjacent to the building. The site, the courtyard immediately west of the building and south of Wascana Daycare, is a centrally located site that allows for a full and safe construction staging area which will house cranes and heavy equipment.

This area creates efficiencies for the contractor, minimizes the impact on surrounding community and safeguards all who need to access the building and surrounding area. Using this site saves us money on the overall project, even if you include the cost of removing and reinstalling the playground.

When the playground was initially constructed, approval for the College West construction program was not yet granted.

A faculty member responds:

“As Dena mentioned, there was no approval for the $38M+ project prior to building the playground. But surely it must have been on the radar – $38M+ projects don’t materialize over the course of a few months, do they?  Or perhaps they do, because in fact, the BoG approved the renovations of College West on July 5th (the same day the fences [were] installed, it seems; …

Perhaps being prudent in building the playground would have been wise.”

A parent with an impacted child thinks so too:

“when I dropped my son off on Monday, he was DEVASTATED to see a bulldozer tearing up the his new playground. While it is posed to be rebuilt, it will not be until 2018.”

This is another frustrating example of construction on the University of Regina campus. Over the years I’ve proposed and supported many projects. Some are now realities, like the park and ride at Conexus Arts Centre (used by the Health Region instead), The RPIRG Green Patch garden, and the U-Pass universal bus pass for students which drastically cut the cost of a bus pass for students and increased bus service on campus. But also many more ideas have been rejected or have yet to be built. There’s no wind-row composting system on vacant University land. There’s still no energy dashboard, but there’s one apparently in the works and behind schedule. And there’s no separated bicycle infrastructure on streets. There’s no single-stream recycling system. No composting system. Not a single on-grid solar panel array. The thousands of dollars that went into constructing a playground and fence in use for less than 4 months, could have gone a long long way into implementing any of those other ideas and wouldn’t have been bulldozed in under a year.

I usually keep these sort of writings internal and send them directly to President Timmons, since she does respond and listen to what I have to say. This example though is already done, and was already done wrong. The money is gone, wasted. What do I hope for? Better foresight in project planning, and more willingness to try ideas proposed by staff and students. I can’t help but feel that a playground was destroyed literally in front of children who loved it, because a nearby parking lot is too precious to people who need to get over their love affair with their cars.

There are places in our city that fund raise for playgrounds, and our University is creating and destroying them in an unimaginable time scale. This is not sustainable growth. Unless you can build, destroy, build, destroy, then rebuild a playground within ten years in a sustainable way.

Wall Took Money From Who?

Who has the Saskatchewan Party accepted donations from? The UofR, City of Regina, Regina Public Library, etc.

Most of the cash came from oil companies such as Crescent Point, Cenovus, Encana and PennWest, though the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, the Canadian Western Bank and construction company PCL also contributed.

…The NDP last year campaigned on getting big money out of politics, and Bill 1 passed by the new government banned corporate and union donations.

…“Alberta has some of the best election finance laws in the country, but Saskatchewan is still the Wild West,” Kinney said.

How does Wall get away with it?

Presumed Albertan Joel Teeling  explains:

“Brad Wall stands up for Alberta’s interests more than our own Premier, so I have no problem with this.”
Fans of Petrostates are who run Alberta and Saskatchewan, for the most part.

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Too Much Climate Change Truth

Brad Wall’s “plan is laughable“. That’s because it isn’t a plan to address climate change, it’s a plan to sweep it under the rug for another decade. Too bad we’re short of time and marching toward oblivion.

Clearly, Wall now thinks we’ve fallen a long way as a province since the early days of his tenure in office — in terms of not only our fiscal situation, but also our generosity as a community.

This week, as part of his laughable excuse for a climate change plan, Wall started demanding that Canada’s federal government strip desperately needed resources away from some of the poorest people on the planet in order to preserve Saskatchewan’s standing as the world’s most reckless air polluter.

If Wall were to get his way, Canada would stand out as the most callous and irresponsible developed country on the planet.

Brad Wall is ignoring reality, for the benefit of greed.

When it comes to climate change, Saskatchewan’s plan is akin to an ostrich sticking its head in the sand.

Premier Brad Wall literally wants to bury our troubles. He wants to dig up fossil fuels and then bury them in another form. Carbon capture and storage might work, for a while. But it will not work near as effectively as just leaving the carbon in the ground in the first place.

A price on carbon will help us slow the rate at which we dig up our future and might enable us the time and opportunity to find a better way to build a sustainable and just society.

The great political theorist John Dryzek labels people like Wall as “Prometheans.” In Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind. He symbolizes progress. Prometheans such as Wall believe that the story of human history is the story of progress.

They argue that nature has no limits, because once a resource runs out, clever people will find a new resource. Or, in the context of CO2 emissions, if humans hit the upper limit of emissions, someone will figure out a way to solve the problem without actually having to recognize limits. This is because those such as Wall recognize no limits to growth.

This is a rather hubristic position for a premier who oversees a province in which the economy is shrinking and natural resources — from grasslands to migratory birds to fresh water — are disappearing.

Most scientists agree that human generated CO2 emissions are changing the Earth’s climate. Economists, policy-makers, and politicians across the globe agree that a price on carbon is an effective way to reduce human-caused CO2 emissions. This is not a case of either-or. We do not require either technology or the economy. We need both.

We need every tool in the tool box. Saskatchewan needs to continue investing in technology that might help to mitigate climate change. And we all need to invest in adaptation strategies. But we also need to start paying for the environmental externalities associated with CO2 emitting behaviours. A price on carbon is one tool.

This is not an “economy versus the environment” issue, as Wall suggests. The economy is the environment. If Saskatchewan cannot grow lentils anymore because of unpredictable rain patterns, its economy cannot be strong. If there is no water left for hydraulic fracturing because of drought, the economy cannot be strong.

We do not choose between the economy and the environment because they are intertwined.

Wall warned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the other provinces that Saskatchewan “will fight for our interest, in the court of public opinion and, if need be, in the courts of the land.” Wall might win the battle on principle, but Saskatchewan will lose the war on climate change and environmental degradation.

The costs will be greater than we can bear. Now is not the time to bicker over technology or the economy. It is too late. We need to invest in technology and we need to invest in the environment. A national price on carbon will cost real dollars, but it is a small fee for standing on the right side of history.

Andrea Olive is an assistant professor of political science and geography at the University of Toronto. She’s from Regina and has a summer home in Saskatchewan.

What’s Really Going On With Climate Change

There are too many people espousing their uneducated, or simply malicious views about the problem of climate change. There are enough of them in some places as to have totally halted progress against one of the greatest threats facing not only our species, but countless others. It’s equivalent to having spotted an Earth-directed asteroid with perhaps 50 years advance notice, but the urgency to solve the similar problem of climate change is no where close to what we’d expect for that pending disaster.

If you want to understand the problem, there’s this useful guide. Bill McKibben also provided this easy to understand summary of the magnitude of the problem.

[If] our goal is to keep the Earth’s temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius—the upper limit identified by the nations of the world—how much more new digging and drilling can we do?

Here’s the answer: zero.

That’s a lot of not digging. Most people grew up with the idea of oil prospectors and the image of Jed Clampett getting sprayed with Black Gold is seared into the brains of everyone older than 35. Yet if we don’t stop digging in short years, we all might as well be at the bottom of a see-ment pool.

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We Hear #carbontax Won’t Work But It Will Change Behaviour

Coyne has a point:

Kevin replies, “I’m planning the purchase of a wood stove…”

Would you normally buy a wood stove?

There it is. An admission that the changes behaviour (just not in the way intended for everyone).

A Tax on Everything Is Coming

Run for the hills!

I realize several people who I’m friends with, think Premier Wall is great for Saskatchewan. I’ve never held a high opinion of the man, I think he’s arrogant, short sighted, and nothing close to a “man of the people” that he pretends to be. When was the last time you were invited to Bilderberg as he is?

For a decade we’ve endured his constant fiscal mismanagement of our province, giving us deficit budget after deficit budget, and what do we have to show for it? Our boom/bust economy is still so fragile, that Wall admits a $10/tonne #carbontax might cripple it, even though that’s the equivalent to a 2.4 cent/L gasoline price increase by reasonable calculations.

People who live in Regina may remember the last mayor refusing to raise property taxes. Not so hard when property values were stagnant, but then 2006/7 came around, and prices doubled or tripled here. Without the benefit of incremental changes, many were caught with their pants down.

Now the same has happened with the Liberals back in Ottawa, and with 10 years of Conservative stagnation on incremental environmental pollution controls, we’re going to experience a little sticker shock when we have to buy the next generation of technology to get by in the changing world.

There will be a lot of fear and ignorance on display, but what else could we expect after the Conservatives paid (using our tax money) to deliver black and white propaganda to our mailboxes, proclaiming that a “tax on everything” was coming with Dion and Goodale.

Even When It Tries To Be Good, It’s Not

The Mainstream Media, or MSM, has failed the people. Maybe because the majority is not owned by the people, but by large debt holders, billionaires, and the government. Their attempt to be “fair”, still overlook elephants in the room.

Yes, the American MSM is failing in their efforts to be fair to Trump. They rarely call his positions “lies”, or “racist”, and continue to give him excessive screen time when he’s clearly manipulating the media to manipulate the public in his favour. The only time the MSM will talk about the Green and Libertarian Party candidates, is when something goes wrong in their campaigns.

Canada’s foremost news anchor has been paid by Big Oil to speak to them in person. Why bother, when he can do so every weeknight on the taxpayer’s dime?

Fortunately, there are exceptions in Canadian media, but not it seems at the largest media creators: