Politics

Minister says future Wascana Park development to be decided on case-by-case basis

Provincial Capital Commission (PCC) Minister Ken Cheveldayoff said that future business decisions in Wascana Park will be made on a case-by-case basis with consensus from the City of Regina and University of Regina.

This comes after the opposition’s Nicole Sarauer brought an August decision of Regina City Council to the legislative assembly.

During their August meeting, council voted in favour of writing a letter to the PCC opposing any future development in Wascana Park that doesn’t serve the interest of park users.

At the time, Mayor Michael Fougere said he would urge the PCC to engage in public consultation over the future governance of the park.

“I’ve talked to the mayor of Regina, and others, and gave them my assurance that things will be done in a fair and equitable manner,” Cheveldayoff said.

Last year, legislation was introduced giving the PCC majority control of the Wascana Centre board. The city and university both still have representing board members.

At the time, Regina city councilor Bob Hawkins worried it would skew power toward the province.

“It wasn’t that long ago that this legislation was brought in. I think it needs an opportunity to operate the way it is right now, and I’m convinced that it’s working very well right now,” Cheveldayoff said.

“Again, it’s done by consensus and we’re taking very seriously any opinions that are brought forward by the member from the university or the member from the City of Regina.”

Cheveldayoff added that the park’s master plan allows for commercial development in the park.

Several groups against commercial development in the park, specifically the Conexus Credit Union office and the Brandt partnership with Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), spoke against future development during the August city council meeting.

Both developments were approved by Regina’s city council.

Cheveldayoff said that both Brandt and Conexus have shown philanthropic spirit while applying for their Wascana buildings, supporting the CNIB and University of Regina’s Darke Hall renovations respectively.

“The province is ignoring what the public wants, which is a protected park,” Sarauer said.

“The system as it worked before – the governance structure as it worked before was very successful in maintaining the park as it was for a very long time.”

Sarauer said the tipping of that balance toward the province can raise public concern about future development in the park. She added that if the goal is consensus, why change the structure in the first place?

“The minister’s word is only as good as his word, and that leaves little to be desired frankly,” Sarauer said.

Cheveldayoff said that there have not yet been issues in working with the university or city since the governance changes.

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