A new year will bring new challenges for the City of Regina, but it’ll also be a year when the spotlight will shine on the Queen City.
Mayor Michael Fougere said as he looks ahead to 2018, one of the first priorities that comes to his mind is the continued development of the Railyard Renewal Project.
The public has had an opportunity to weigh in on a number of different concepts for how the chunk of land by the tracks off Dewdney Avenue is developed.
Fougere said the project is moving ahead behind the scenes, as administration drafts up a report to eventually bring to city hall and residents.
“Now we’ll have a true public debate about what exactly do we want to see on that 17 and a half acres. So that, to me, is the big discussion that’ll happen in 2018.”
The mayor is hopeful a decision will be made in 2018 on how that land is developed.
Something happening for sure this year: the legalization of marijuana by the federal government sometime in the summer.
There’s still a lot left to be decided by senior levels of government, Fougere said, but he’s asking for a fair split of the money generated through the new law.
“We’re saying, as the City of Regina as part of (Federation of Canadian Municipalities) and the Big City Mayors’ Caucus, we’d like one-third of the revenue,” he said.
That money would need to be used for immediate costs, Fougere said, which could cover police roadside checks, training on new equipment, licensing and zoning.
He said there are still many questions regarding how the new law will be enforced.
Fougere believes putting together the budget could be challenging again in 2018, as it was in 2017, after the provincial budget came out and the Wall government altered its grants-in-lieu program to municipalities.
But the year will also offer a number of bright spots. Provincial, national and international attention will be turned upon Regina in 2018.
In March, the Tim Hortons Brier will sweep its way into the Brandt Centre. Two months later, in May, the Regina Pats host the Memorial Cup in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Hockey League’s championship trophy.
“We’ve always been able to pull these things off, we’ve always been able to show the best face of our city and this is no different,” Fougere remarked.
Regina was also recently awarded an LPGA event. The Wascana Country Club will host the 2018 Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.