PCC decides CNIB project can resume; announces plans for improved consultation, transparency

The Provincial Capital Commission (PCC) has announced that the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) project within Wascana Centre will go ahead.

The decision comes after the project was put on pause in spring of 2019 for reviewing by the provincial auditor. In 2017, the building was conditionally approved.

In her December 2019 report, the provincial auditor gave several recommendations, which included the improvement of internal processes, transparency and public consultation.

Lori Carr, minister responsible for the PCC, provided an announcement on Friday morning in Regina regarding steps the commission will follow to address recommendations from the provincial auditor.
In a release from the PCC, the majority of their initiatives are expected to be completed in the coming year, with many in place.
  • Developing a detailed public consultation plan to be posted online, as it relates to Wascana Centre’s Master Plan;
  • Create a public “step-by-step” guide and reference tool, outlining the review process for major developments in the park;
  • Provide regular, and consistent updates to the public on ongoing development projects;
  • Post board meeting highlights to the PCC website;
  • Assessing best practice examples of sub-lease/tenant agreement approvals to ensure conformity with the Master Plan; and
  • A full review of legislation and regulations that pertain to the PCC.

As for the CNIB project, that development will move forward on a 38-step process that is set for all new projects within Wascana Centre. It’s part of what the commission calls “a commitment to ensuring open and transparent relationship with residents.”

During Friday morning’s announcement, reporters asked Capital Commission CEO Monique Goffinet Miller if more clarity could be provided on the process to have the project continue following the review.

She said the PCC board has made every effort to be transparent on every step of their 38-point checklist.

“The board had reviewed the CNIB project in the conceptual design phase, which the Architectural Advisory Committee did bring forward their review to the board,” explained Goffinet Miller. “At that time, it was decided that the conceptual design review step was completed.”

When questioned on whether the project would include commercial office spaces once it’s completed, Goffinet Miller said the board did require tenancy to be in compliance with the 2016 Wascana Centre Master Plan.

“During the detailed design, which is the step the CNIB project is in, there would be a review of whether or not that tenancy make up is in compliance. So this is a normal portion of the already audited process of any project that would be in Wascana Centre.”

The detailed design phase is phase 23 of 38 on the checklist which can be viewed publicly on the Provincial Capital Commission’s website.

Carr said it’s a step proponents may have to repeat if the proposal doesn’t meet the five pillars of Wascana Centre.

“Let’s be clear. This project is not approved because it’s a concept right now,” mentioned Carr.

“It’s something we’re moving forward with as we go ahead with the detailed design phase. The Architectural Advisory Committee will help us walk through whatever they are going to put in there will meet the pillars.”

Carr added until they go through that process, they won’t know the proponent’s intentions.

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