Regina's city council has voted unanimously to ban heavy trucks from a section of Ninth Avenue N.
Starting on Jan. 1, 2021, heavy or long-haul trucks will not be allowed on Ninth Aveneue N. between Pasqua Street and Pinkie Road.
Local residents near the section raised concerns about the amount of truck traffic, the undivided road and close calls on crashes.
City administration will monitor the ban, congestion reports and trucking routes and come back to council with a report for consideration in January 2022.
Coun. Jason Mancinelli (Ward 9) proposed the changes after hearing from residents and doing his own traffic studies.
Council also voted to help the Regina Exhibition Association Ltd. (REAL) with its interest payments and to lease land for a McDonald's restaurant at Evraz Place.
Early in the meeting, council approved a $700,000 grant for REAL to pay down interest on its debt.
Council also approved expanding REAL's debt limit to $21 million. City administration said this will provide flexibility in the future.
Meanwhile, a new McDonald's may soon be built in Regina, after council approved a 40-year lease for a location at Evraz Place. It will be on currently undeveloped land on the west side of the property, near the Lewvan entrance. The McDonald's lease is for $5,000 a month.
Coun. Shanon Zachidiack (Ward 8) proposed an amendment to the deal. She wanted city administration and REAL to work together to establish best practices for transparent and competitive ways to lease land going forward.
The amendment passed, with only Couns. Terina Shaw (Ward 7) and Lori Bresciani (Ward 4) opposed. Shaw argued there is a lot of land available and the current process is fair.
Mayor Sandra Masters did not take part after declaring a conflict of interest, because she is REAL's former board chair.
City administration will now present a report that prioritizes local businesses to council in early 2021.
Tax breaks for non-profits, daycares approved
City council also approved a new space for the Circle Project. The Indigenous organization hosts services that help combat family violence, counselling programs, a centre for children, infants and toddlers, and cultural connections for kids.
The organization applied for a zoning change that would let it create a hub at 3433 Fifth Ave., a former Conexus bank.
"We believe creating the Community and Cultural Hub is the right thing for the right reason," the organization said in its submission.
Council also unanimously approved a one-year partial property tax break for non-profits, and a 40 per cent tax break for licensed non-profit daycares for two years.
During the debate, Coun. Andrew Stevens (Ward 3) proposed an amendment to pressure the federal government for affordable child care.
Masters said she didn't agree with walk-on amendments and voted against it. After the meeting, she said city council debates are restrictive and the amendment should have been proposed at executive committee.
Masters abstained from the tax exemption vote, which passed 10 to one.
Lastly, city council approved designating Darke Block as a municipal heritage property. The seven-storey, 113-year-old building was originally designed for Regina's youngest mayor — Francis Darke. He was elected mayor in 1898, at age 35.
"Many of Darke's philanthropic endeavours continue to enrich the cultural life of our community," Heritage Regina said.
The Darke Memorial Chimes were given to the Metropolitan Methodist Church in memory of Darke's son and are still used today. Darke also donated large amounts to help build Regina's College Avenue Campus and Darke Hall is named after him.
"Without question, protecting the Darke Block through a heritage designation provides a tangible way for members of the public to learn about and connect with the stories of the building and of Francis Darke," Heritage Regina said.