Saskatchewan is growing
The NDP says the experience of some landowners near the Pinkie Road interchange west of Regina is another example of how the Saskachewan government treats average citizens in its pursuit of growth, but Highways Minister Don McMorris points to safety and process.
A lawsuit filed by those landowners against the government came up in question period on Wednesday afternoon. (Read more here.)
The "new Saskatchewan" is supposed to be about growth but only if you don't get in the way. That is how a pocket of landowners and developers west of Regina feel after having their plans halted by a bureaucracy that appears to want to drive through plans of its own.
Fred Siller owns land at Pinkie Road and Highway one. He lived there until he was forced to move.
"They demanded that I clear off my property in ten days. In ten days, anything left on that property was going to be abandoned by me. It would no longer be my property,” said Siller.
Those renting apartments at a Robinson Street building are learning the $520 rent hike planned for this fall by the building's new owners -- Castle Mountain Properties -- is being withdrawn.
"Total surprise. Very pleased. When you get together and work toward a cause, things happen," said Pat Colpitts, one of the tenants facing the 77-per-cent rent hike.
If you're looking for a place to live in Regina you will be shelling out a lot more money with rental prices skyrocketing in a tight market.
Earlier this week we told you about a group of women who are going to have to leave their apartments because their rent is going up by more than $500. As long term residents of a building in Cathedral, they were paying less than $700 a month, but under new owners they will have to pay close to $1200.
Organizations in Regina that help people with housing say those situations are not the norm.
Regina’s mayor has little doubt the city will get help with its growing debt load.
Michael Fougere and the rest of the city’s executive committee approved a couple of recommendations on Wednesday asking the Saskatchewan Municipal Board (SMB) to either exclude a provincial loan of $100 million dollars for the new stadium off the city’s total debt or to have the city’s limit increased.
“Either way we’re very confident they will. They’ll exclude it from the debt limit or they’ll add it to it, but either way we’re confident,” Fougere said.
Last year was a record-breaker when it came to growth in Regina and if new building permit numbers are any indication, it's not slowing down anytime soon.
The City of Regina issued 176 building permits last month which is technically down from February of last year, but the value of those permits is worth about $3 million more.
More than 150 new homes and apartments are currently under construction including a huge apartment complex for seniors.
Meanwhile housing prices in Regina have also reached a new high.
Regina is the second-fastest growing city in Canada, and getting younger with plenty of young people transplanting to the Queen City.
Many of the city's newest transplants see a lot of good things happening in the community, saying small business and areas like Wascana Park are real assets for the city.
"I moved here from Calgary with the understanding that this would be a pitstop," said Cate Hydeman, "(and) if I could ride my bike year round on snow-cleared streets (I'd stick around)."
Smiles and happiness filled E.D. Feehan High School on Friday as 30 people became brand new Canadian citizens.
"I feel good and I also feel like I'm a part of something big and now I can stay that way," said 13-year-old Darina Jargees of Saskatoon.
She is from Iraq, but has been in Canada since she was seven years old.
"I have always wanted to be Canadian. I kept on dreaming and praying every day to come to Canada, to be a citizen," she said.
She already has some big plans for when she grows up.
The recent growth the city has seen, and by all accounts will continue to see, is translating over to the Regina International Airport.
The Airport Authority presented its 2012 Year in Review to the media on Friday, with another record breaking year to report.
“It was a great year at the airport. We increased our passenger throughput by 3.9 per cent to close to 1.2 million people,” said the authority’s President and CEO Jim Hunter.
Regina continues to grow at a faster pace than almost any other city in Canada.
No secret has been made of the city’s growth. The Conference Board of Canada’s Metropolitan Winter 2013 Outlook has the Queen City growing by 3.5 per cent in 2013 and 3.9 per cent in 2014. In 2012, the city had a GDP growth rate of 4.2 per cent. That was second only to Edmonton.
For many in the city, all they have to do is quickly glance outside to see that growth.
“You see construction trucks, you see cranes, more traffic,” said one woman.