Regina’s mayor is comparing the city’s current state to running a marathon.
In his State of the City Address in front of more than 500 people, Michael Fougere said he believes things are “very strong” in the Queen City. He explained how in any race there are ups and downs, stating that the city is almost in mid-stride right now while facing a limping economy.
“A little bit of economic turmoil, it’s all the critical part of a race that we’re taking, and if you take the long view we’ll get through this,” he described.
The mayor touched on some major projects that are either currently underway, completed, rectified or in the planning stages. Those projects include: the civic pension plan, the new stadium, and the wastewater treatment plant, along with sustainable growth.
“We have a lot of projects that are happening, a lot of opportunities happening, we have a lot of investment happening in our city. Now, relatively speaking, not as much as previous years,” Fougere admitted.
In terms of the local economy, he also revealed he expects the city to get $30.5 million worth of stimulus money from the federal government. A transit maintenance facility is the city’s most urgent need, he said, because the current facility is too small and can’t be repaired.
The Winnipeg Street overpass also needs attention, as do a number of other bridges and roads Fougere added.
Fougere thinks the community is doing very well and says he believes residents feel the same way.
“You talk to anybody on the street, people are happy. They have a confidence in the city that we didn’t have a decade ago. We know that there are some changing economic circumstances but people generally are pleased with how things are going and they themselves see things going well.”
That seems to be the case for Steve Enns, chair of the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District, who insisted the city is in a wonderful spot.
“It’s OK to slow down a bit and catch up,” he said.
More bars, more restaurants and more cultural attractions opening up in the downtown is something the mayor boasted about in his speech. It’s a change that has stood out for Enns as well.
“The last 18 months the nighttime economy has just flourished in downtown Regina.”
Enns called the ongoing work to develop lands around the stadium and at the rail yard along Dewdney Avenue “generational” opportunities. Once the city gets rolling on those, Enns guesses there will be development in those areas for the next 15 to 20 years.
“As long as we in the community, in business and industry continue to work on these projects and move them forward I think it’s the best that can happen for Regina in the near term.”