We need to increase our spending on recreation

The Recreation Master Plan (RMP) makes it clear that Regina needs to keep up with resident demands and to repair aging infrastructure. We can't just focus on roads. Advancing the RMP will take money and political commitment. That's why I'm pleased that Councillor Hawkins' idea turned into a broader discussion amongst Council, which then become a notice of motion sponsored by all eleven of us.

Re: Recreation Infrastructure Program

WHEREAS recreation facilities that are accessible and welcoming can provide opportunities for fun and healthy living for all Regina citizens;

WHEREAS the availability of good recreational facilities will provide Regina youth with an alternative to a lifestyle of gangs, guns and drugs;

WHEREAS the rapid growth in Regina’s population, and the development of new subdivisions, has put capacity pressure on Regina’s existing recreational facilities;

WHEREAS Regina’s recreation spaces have an average age of 37 years with much of that infrastructure nearing, at, or past, the end of its useful life;

WHEREAS the replacement value of the Regina’s recreational facilities is over $199 million with modernized replacement value likely beyond $377 million;

WHEREAS the recent Recreation Master Plan, City of Regina provides a plan for the replacement and modernization of Regina’s recreation infrastructure;

WHEREAS Regina has recently successfully tackled its local road infrastructure deficit through a program that dedicated 1% of each year’s mill rate increase, for a period of five years, to local road renewal;

WHEREAS the citizens of Regina have shown that they are prepared to accept a modest mill rate increase if they know that the funds created by that increase are dedicated to a specific infrastructure renewal that they support;

WHEREAS Regina needs to be in a position to take advantage of opportunities to leverage funding in shared costs recreation infrastructure programs offered by other levels of government and in potential partnerships with private organizations interested in building recreation infrastructure; and

WHEREAS a 0.5% (one-half of one percent) mill rate increase each year beginning in 2020, for five years, would yield for recreation infrastructure an estimated amount of $1,250,000 in 2020, $2,550,000 in 2021, $3,900,000 in 2022, $5,300,000 in 2023 and in 2024, the last year of the program, $6,750,000, and an equal amount for every year thereafter without any further mill rate increase.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that:

1. Regina City Council approve a Recreation Infrastructure
Program with the goal of renewing, replacing and/or developing new recreational infrastructure;

2. The Recreational Infrastructure Program be modeled on the recently concluded Residential Road Renewal Program;

3. The Program be funded by dedicating 0.5% (one-half of one percent) mill rate increase in each year for five years between 2020 to 2024; and

4. Administration bring forward from time to time, and in a timely fashion as funds from the program become available, plans for recreational infrastructure redevelopment based on the current Recreation Master Plan, and other relevant considerations, for consideration by Regina City Council.