Plains Truth

Judging by the spike in blog traffic methinks we have discovered a sore point here. The August 13 issue is in the can and on its way tomorrow but I think it's a reasonable assumption that there will be something on this development in the issue after that.

And I'm sure there'll be more on Dog Blog of course.

One clarification on Rosie's fine post: LaRose says "The Plains doesn't have as much historical value as a building, and as a business, the major loss will be the loss of another stage for local bands."

I think a lot of people will debate those points. My own quibble: the Plains has a killer sushi restaurant--the Sushi Bank. I don't eat sushi as much asI'd like (soy issues--I love it but it doesn't love me), but if I did I'd go to this place at least once a week. DEFINITELY would be a major loss if it went.

Steel and Glass

On the surface, I can't share the unhappiness Carle Steel feels towards the probable demolition of The Plains Hotel, (prairie dog) in advance of another building that will make Regina's downtown even more resemble the set of a cheap and bad science fiction movie. (Chamberlin) The Plains doesn't have as much historical value as a building, and as a business, the major loss will be the loss of another stage for local bands.

First of all, so much of Regina's downtown has changed over the years that there's, unfortunately, little left to preserve. (Skyscraper.com's forum on Regina Through The Years.) For example, the old gingerbread house City Hall was, depending on who you talk to, either too small for the city's growing bureaucracy or was incompetently designed – with, amongst other things, a poorly designed foundation – from the get-go. But what replaced it – the Midtown Centre/Galleria/Alvin Hamilton Building was fugugly, and most of the time empty. Much of the Scarth-Cornwall area between 11th Avenue and Saskatchewan Drive was in decline in the 1970s and 1980s, but the Cornwall Centre has been, at best, a giant step sideways, doing little to stop the retail flight to the suburbs, first to the malls and then to the big box stores.

The historical aspect of the Scarth Street Mall was ruined by the building of the Twin Towers on the site of the old McCallum Hill building and across the street. Losing the Capitol Theatres was a stake through the heart of downtown Regina's entertainment community (the life insurance company Premier Devine bribed to move into the city couldn't find office space somewhere else?). And while it was better to knock down the closed Met and Broadway Theatres along Broad Street than leaving them vacant (wish there were plans for more than parking lots …), the Broad Street Crossing and Wingate Inn have to rank as the most disappointing, if not the ugliest, pieces of architecture in Regina. And considering all the ugly architecture I've outlined, there's a lot of competition for that …. ummm, 'honour.'

That's the real reason why I'm fearing what's going to be built on the site of the Plains is going to be a disappointment. And you don't need to be Howard Roark (Wikipedia) to realize that. It's also the reason why I think the projected new city central library will either never get off the ground or in the end will be an ugly compromise that will satisfy no one, and the proposed new domed stadium for the Riders will be such an eyesore that within 15 years it will be blamed for the team's decline and the object of an expensive renovation project to bring it up to the standard that they promised to build to in the first place.

This project will almost certainly be downscaled, with whatever aesthetic touches outlined in the proposal thrown overboard in the name of cost cutting, and thousands of Reginans will go to work cursing another ugly steel and glass monstrosity that was erected because City Hall saw dollar signs instead of a community plan.

Oh yeah. His Worship will be calling for another construction boom ... (CJME)

I Couldn't Make This Stuff Up If I Tried

Yes, that is the navy, washed up on the doorstep of the Regina Chamber of Commerce.

My theory: The navy (hired by the business lobby) is looking for a place to set up near the Plains Hotel to defend the condo developers as they tear it down for absolutely no fucking reason.


Gog, Magog, Bush, Iraq, Chirac...And The Guardian

Ahhh... a heavyweight newspaper is working on confirming the story. We'll link to it when they get something. (Guardian, Alternet)