Mayor Masters faces variety of questions at Chamber of Commerce breakfast

Mayor Sandra Masters shared personal and professional opinions on a wide range of topics at the Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Friday morning.

The Chamber hosted a Breakfast with the Mayor event, giving chamber members and local businesses the opportunity to ask Masters questions on relevant city situations.

“I think they’re all fair (questions). I think the folks in this room showed where they have an interest in things. Clearly, mill rate and city budgets are one of them, and development and how we progress the city and then of course the drama of council,” says Masters.

Masters also took on questions about how the council is addressing homelessness and the results of the survey from the city’s catalyst committee.

When asked about the two-year budget, Masters explained that it allows the council to get ahead of the game for 2024.

She explained that most numbers and funding are fixed and predictable.

“The portion (of the budget) you play with is either your capital or the idea of what can we stop doing or what can we do better. I think that the way it’s established is that you’re throwing the number out there for year two but year two still has to be approved next year,” she says.

Masters also had a strong answer on the council’s position on dealing with the prominent homelessness issue in Regina.

“We are not social services. We are not health. We are not mental health. We are not corrections. It’s not us. The services that are required to serve the homeless populations do not belong and are not resourced by the city of Regina,” says Masters.

“I can tell you, when we show up to broker deals with not-for-profit, community-based organizations with the provincial and Federal governments, things advance. So, I think we (the city) have a coordinating role. I think we figure out how to convene and bring folks together and come up with ideas.”

She went on to say that the city is expected to be a partner when addressing homelessness.

According to Masters there’s a lack of data on where provincial and federal spending is going to address homelessness. So, right now council and social services are trying to figure out how to fill that gap of people who don’t seem to know about the services available.

She said addressing homelessness is a difficult thing to do if a large portion of the homeless population is not using the resources and services that are available to them, which Masters says they heard a lot of from the people who used Camp Hope last winter.

On top of the homelessness issue, Masters also addressed the need for revitalization in the North Central neighbourhood.

She explained that the council has developed a strong understanding of the importance of revitalization.

Also how important it is to collect data on the issues within North Central to see what the council can do effectively to make it a desirable neighbourhood.

Masters believes that the neighbourhood has a lot of potential and opportunity with the vacant housing that sits there. She says that it’s a great opportunity for first-time home buyers if the city can effectively make North Central a desirable area.

Masters was also asked about what’s next since the city’s catalyst committee released the results of their survey about the five potential recreation facilities.

She replied that it’s now in the hands of the provincial and Federal governments to provide funding for these projects. She ensured that the council has been communicating with the governments and has submitted applications for funding. The progression of the projects is now in a waiting game.

People at the breakfast also questioned the council’s ability to work together in the midst of a lawsuit that two city council members are taking against the city manager.

Masters’ opinion on the matter is not new as she explained the disappointment majority of the council has for the situation. However, she did reassure that city council continues to work collaboratively and effectively to better the quality of life for Regina residents.

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