Members approved for committee that will help shape Regina's downtown 'catalyst projects'

·4 min read
Members of the public at Regina city council's Wednesday meeting. (Kirk Fraser/CBC - image credit)
Members of the public at Regina city council's Wednesday meeting. (Kirk Fraser/CBC - image credit)

Regina city council has approved the majority of members for a committee that could help shape the city's downtown core.

The catalyst committee will be made up of 16 members, drawn from council members as well as representatives of private industry, business improvement districts and social agencies in Regina.

At its Wednesday meeting, city council approved the committee's terms of reference and 14 of its 16 members

The committee is named after proposals dubbed "catalyst projects" because they're meant to generate growth, development and private funding in the city, and will likely be a significant political entity because of the scale of the projects it will be in charge of.

They include an aquatics facility that would replace the aging Lawson Aquatic Centre, a possible replacement for the Brandt Centre and a feasibility study for a multipurpose outdoor facility geared toward high-performance baseball.

The committee is intended to make sure the possible developments are developed in tandem, rather than being siloed from one another.

Critics of the newly formed committee have said it has similar terms of reference to the city centre core development advisory committee, which was created just last year.

On Thursday, Mayor Sandra Masters responded to the criticism on CBC's The Morning Edition.

"The city centre committee was intended to be a committee that frankly forced the [Downtown Business Improvement District], the [Warehouse Business Improvement District] and [Regina Exhibition Association Limited] to hold regular meetings to talk about what everyone was doing," Masters told host Stefani Langenegger.

That committee has met twice. While it will continue meeting, Masters said the catalyst committee is meant to focus on major pieces of infrastructure and "transformative projects."

LISTEN | Regina's mayor talks sidewalks, parking lots and the city's new 'catalyst committee':

Masters added that council has attempted to address concerns that there is little representation for residents who live downtown and will be the most affected by whatever comes out of the committee.

"I think that's what the Downtown Business Improvement District is intended to. So the Downtown BID represents not just the businesses, but the residents that live downtown," she said.

The mayor also said a motion proposed by Coun. Andrew Stevens, and approved by council on Wednesday, will see a spot on the new committee allocated to a member representing an inner-city community association.

That spot is one of two that have yet to be filled. The other open spot must be filled by someone from the development, real estate or construction community, the committee's terms of reference say.

The catalyst committee was the brainchild of Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL), which pushed for its creation as it looks to secure a potential replacement for the Brandt Centre.

There was a little less than a month between a walk-on motion in July that proposed creating the committee, and Wednesday's approval of the bulk of its membership.

The 14 members named to the committee Wednesday include co-chairs Bob Hawkins, the city councillor for Ward 2, and Tim Reid, CEO of REAL.

Couns. Lori Bresciani (Ward 4) and Andrew Stevens (Ward 3) will round out the council representatives.

The other committee members approved Wednesday are:

  • Tiffany Stephenson, who co-chaired REAL's arena strategic planning committee.

  • Lisa McIntyre, Regina Downtown Business Improvement District board of directors.

  • Jeff Boutilier, vice-chair of the Regina Warehouse Business Improvement District.

  • Chris Lane, president and CEO of Economic Development Regina.

  • Jeff Keshen, president of the University of Regina.

  • Melissa Coomber-Bendtsen, CEO of YWCA Regina.

  • Edmund Bellegarde, former tribal chief and CEO of the File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council.

  • Cindy Kobayashi, Regina Public Library board of directors.

  • Ruth Smillie, former artistic director of the Globe Theatre.

  • Kyle Jeworski, president and CEO of Viterra.

The committee will meet at least once a month.

A budget for the scope of work — which council was previously told will include broad public consultation — will need to be prepared within 60 days of the committee's commencement.

Along with the budget will be a proposed timeline that outlines the key stages of work proposed by the committee.

The committee will have to act quickly. It must prepare a report by the end of 2022 and the committee itself is set to be disbanded by March 31, 2023.

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