It may not be the most glamorous thing to talk about. But Regina Mayor Michael Fougere says the completion of the Waste Water Treatment Plant will give Regina the infrastructure needed to ensure population growth and a stable economic future.
The Mayor spoke to CKRM News Director Christina Cherneskey in a year-end interview, and while many other topics came up – such as the completion of Mosaic Stadium – the Mayor consistently referred to the treatment plant.
“We’re seeing the conclusion of some big projects, “Fougere said. “Like substantial completion of our stadium. And now it’s up and running. Substantial completion of our Waste Water Treatment Plant. The Mâmawêyatitân Centre is now ready and operating. The International Trade Centre has been constructed and used for the first time.”
The Mayor has good reason to be proud of this achievement in the treatment plant. He and Regina council met many challenges along the way. The public-private partnership concept at first was controversial. Construction went ahead however after a referendum structured to block the P3 failed to get enough voter support.
“More fundamentally, is the Waste Water Treatment Plant,” Fougere said. “It’s not a glamorous thing to talk about, but this council’s focus on preparing for growth to make sure that we have the ability to grow our population, grow our economy, provide prosperity and growth and services for people. So, the Waste Water Treatment Plant is now substantially completed. It’s operating and doing a great job.”
Fougere was frank with several other issues Regina is facing. While his plan for the future remains firm, he deftly defends some of the Queen City’s so-called shortcomings.
Like parking. Downtown. And parking tickets.
“We want to provide a way in which we can have circulation of parking downtown, so we have more people downtown, to make it a more vibrant downtown,” Fougere said. “We do enforce and it’s a work in progress to ensure we’re giving people fair and reasonable time to move their car. We do need to get better, but I think it’s better than it used to be.”
One of Fougere’s bigger plans for Regina is a housing strategy for homeless. A national strategy was announced late in 2017 and Fougere says while the city has its own plan to reduce homelessness, he wants to know if the federal government will be giving the city financial assistance to further their blueprint.
“I know there has been, on the margins, discussions of homelessness,” Fougere said. “And I think there will likely be other statements soon. But, when you talk about a national strategy, you cannot continue the conversation without talking about homelessness. Every city in Canada has this problem. What we are looking for is a solution from all parties, government and even the private sector to be involved as well.”
You can hear Christina’s entire interview with Mayor Fougere on New Year’s Day on 620 CKRM.