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.

Gwynne Dyer at University of Regina

I’ve been to two other Gwynne Dyer lectures at the U of R, and each time they are very interesting presentations of what has happened in the world. There is also a little predicting going on, so if you’re curious what could happen, settle in, and listen to it all.

 

Canadian Debt

Jeremy Harrison, minister of the economy pointed to the fact the average Canadian family needs 42.8 per cent of its pre-tax income for housing while the average in Saskatchewan is 28.6 per cent.

“So I think that speaks as to the affordability of living here in this province,” said Harrison.

John Hopkins, CEO of the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce, said the survey indicates that Canadians are spending heavily on necessities like housing.

That’s created concern there could be real trouble for consumers if there’s a sudden increase in interest rates, but “we’re not seeing that anywhere on the horizon, thank goodness,” he said

Harrison’s comment could be very funny if the housing market crashes next year, and Hopkins’ too if interest rates go to 5%.

On Time and On Budget

There’s a cliche around the City of Regina the last while. Politicians will say a project is “on time and on budget”, but fail to point out that the initial estimates for the budget and time it’s expected to be completed, are amended as the project goes along. Get support for the project by low-balling the cost estimate, then when the public is committed, up it by including all of the reasonable maintenance costs.

“McMorris says the entire project will likely cost upwards of $300 million.”

Why did the project costs change?

The Government’s total investment of $1.88 billion includes the full cost of the Bypass over the next 30 years and construction.

The previous estimates were based only on the construction-related costs. The cost of construction alone is in line with the $1.2 billion estimate.

Apr 08, 2016:

The Saskatchewan government says the asphalt on most of the ramps on the new interchange at the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and Pinkie Road will have to be ripped up in order to prepare for a complex new series of ramps and overpasses.

The Pinkie Road Interchange was officially opened in the fall of 2013. ”

“When it began constructing this interchange back in September 2011 the government was thinking that the South Bypass would reconnect with the Trans-Canada Highway east of Albert Street “on the curves between Wascana Parkway and Albert Street.”

However, in September 2012, a consultant recommended that the bypass connect with the Pinkie Road interchange, which was already under construction.

Did a different part of the government see they needed to make a different interchange?

March 13, 2013:

Initially only eight to 10 acres were meant to be given up by each neighbour. Now, on average, each of those impacted were made to give up 88 acres.

Siller gave up a portion of his land – as required by law – for the new interchange. The bureaucrats took more than he feels was needed with a vision to one day create a cloverleaf where the interchange is now being constructed.

“Highways bureaucrats literally admitted they are proud of the fact they took extra land so they didn’t have to deal with future development,” Denton said.

B-17 Flying Fortress over Regina

Regina was lucky to get a visit from the famous World War II bomber plane.

I spent a few days running outside in the morning when I heard it roaring overhead, and snapping some photos and shooting videos. My older SD video camera has a much better 12X real zoom (48X digital), but my phone has HD video and less decent 4X digital zoom.
B-17

B-17 Flying Fortress

B-17 Flying Fortress

B-17 Flying Fortress

B-17 Flying Fortress