Andrew's priorities for City Council
A people-focused COVID recovery: COVID has created hardships for many residents and has resulted in a serious financial shortfall for the municipality. This means a tax and expenditure strategy that focuses on people, not just the bottom line. Through existing municipal organizations, like Economic Development Regina, we need a Council that’s committed to a long-term economic development strategy as a means of keeping our communities and neighbourhoods vibrant.
Responsive and accountable: Municipal government is the most accessible form of government in Canada. Let’s keep it that way. I will make myself available to residents by phone, email, through social media, and in person through town halls and coffee shop conversations. Decisions I make at Council are driven by principles and feedback from residents.
A Green Regina: Making Regina sustainable should guide all our planning, transportation, and utility decisions. Council’s commitment to make the City of Regina 100% renewable by 2050 is an ambitious plan that will take strong leadership in the years ahead. This means focusing on the economic, social, and environmental benefits associated with building a sustainable city, from tax incentives to electrifying our public transit fleet. It also means ensuring the sustainability of our urban forest as we work towards the objective of one tree for every Regina resident.
Fixing our infrastructure: Fixing our infrastructure means more than just filling potholes and rebuilding roads. Council needs to commit to making Regina more walkable and accessible for all. That means clearing snow from sidewalks, ensuring drains are cleared of debris, extending our bike infrastructure, and promptly repairing paths and walkways due to erosion and construction. It also means paying attention to what’s underground, like replacing lead pipes and maintaining our water and sewer infrastructure.
Many of our recreation facilities and amenities are crumbling and require significant investments in order to ensure that Regina remains an appealing, liveable community. This means keeping our focus on implementing the Official Community Plan, Neighbourhood Plans, and respective Master Plans.
Fair Taxation: No one likes to pay taxes, but it’s how cities pay for services and infrastructure. A fair taxation policy means finding ways of improving service delivery while controlling costs. We also need to examine the balance between residential and commercial taxes as a proportion of revenue. Right now, residential taxpayers pay a higher amount relative to commercial and industrial ratepayers, compared with other municipalities. It also means controlling senior executive compensation by examining bonus structures and adjusting salaries based on key performance benchmarks established by Council. We also need to advocate for changes to provincial tax policies, like allowing for a hotel tax to help Regina draw revenue from major events in publicly-funded facilities such as Mosaic Stadium. Moving away from the current regressive property tax model is important. There are ways to minimize the residential tax burden by looking at ways of shifting costs onto large box stores, parking lots, and underutilized properties.
A Regina for everyone: After years of hard work, Council approved a Plan to End Homelessness. Unfortunately, no money was committed to seeing this plan through. That needs to change. If there are millions of dollars on the table for developers, we need to ensure that money exists for residents seeking safe, affordable shelter. We must stay true to our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation. We also need to ensure that all businesses doing work for the City pay a living wage, that the City is a good and inclusive employer, and that racism has no place in policing practices or on our communities. Council must also champion the work of Age Friendly Regina, which has developed ideas for youth and seniors to be full participants in our community. We also need to make Regina more accessible for residents, and that means improving how we deliver services and built infrastructure in a way that is sensitive to people with disabilities. A people-focused Regina means changing how we spend, plan, and build our communities.