Last Week At City Hall: Tag Day Bylaw and Leadership on Climate Change

So top among my goals for 2010 is more city hall blogging. Already, I've let some important stuff slide over the last week, what with all the holiday festivities and catching up with family and friends. The socializing is finally winding down some (although, in an hour, I'm off to see Avatar in IMax 3-D with an old high-school chum) so I thought I'd try some municipal news catch up.

Way back at their December 21 meeting, council voted to repeal the controversial Tag Day Bylaw. For the time being, it's my understanding that this should make life easier for Regina's panhandlers. Whether or not that will continue depends on a report staff has been directed to prepare. It will consider various options on how to regulate panhandling.

Also passed at this meeting, was a request from the mayor to have staff look into how to change the Official Community Plan so that optimizing solar orientation of new lots will be a requirement and not merely a guideline. (Also, near the top of my goals for 2010 is to write fewer run-on sentences like that one. Too rushed right now to go fix it, though.) This is an overdue suggestion but welcome nonetheless. As Harbour Landing has shown, voluntary environmental guidelines aren't working as well as hoped. And, as we reported in the prairie dog lo so many months ago, (I plan to use the word "lo" a whole lot more) properly orienting lots is important as it can save homeowners upwards of 15 per cent on their energy bills. And you don't get a second chance to take advantage of solar orientation as the way we lay out our streets today will likely be the way they look hundreds or even thousands of years from now.

Six in the Morning

1. I DIDN'T THINK WE'D GET TO USE THAT WORD AGAIN SO SOON: Seems Carle beat me to it. Apparently, Harper and his scandal plagued Conservatives are planning to prorogue parliament once again. (Carle Steele, Globe and Mail)

2. CANADIANS CARE ABOUT? Phew. Good thing parliament is about to be prorogued. Means we won't be distracted from the really important things like who's on Team Canada. That live update page I'm linking to would be for the men's team, of course. Doesn't seem to be so much handwringing about the women's. (CTV)

3. BOOKSELLER GOES DOWN: Another independent bookseller is in the process of biting the dust as McNally-Robinson of Winnipeg are declaring bankruptcy. The reason for their failure? Over expansion. (Globe and Mail)

4. WOMEN ARE COMPANIONS OF MEN, SAYS POPE: Pope Benedict dropped another of his trademark rat-zingers when he told a congregation that god created women to be companions for men. Not sure what to make of it (although, I do know what to think of the pic the Leader Post chose to accompany the article). I think he was just trying to offend homosexuals hoping to marry. But he managed to piss off feminists and well.. most everyone. Yay, Pope! (Leader Post)

5. LEMIEUX, YOUNG TO RECEIVE ORDER OF CANADA: Yay, Neil! Yay, Mario! Aaaaaaad, that's enough said on that. (Leader Post)

6. FAREWELL DOCTOR: David Tennant, the best of the 10 Doctors IMHO, will be making his last appearance as the fabled UK sci-fi hero in Doctor Who: The End of Time this Saturday on Space. (Which means I'll be traveling and not watching it. Bugger.) The show has apparently already run in the UK so you can read a review at the Guardian site. But don't spoil any of it for me, please.

Proroguies Again?

I've been back for 37 minutes and already in a state of impotent rage about the possibility of Harper proroguing another parliament. (CBC)

WTF? If Michaelle Jean says yes again, won't that set kind of a bad precedence (as if the last year's prorogation wasn't bad enough, AND on top of many many many other bad bad bad precedences?)

I think I'll look at this picture of Gilles Duceppe instead.


Pick of the Day: Regina Plains Museums

Earlier this month (Dec. 15 to be precise) the Regina Plains Museum celebrated its 50th anniversary. I'm not familiar with the museum's exact history, but do know it used to be much bigger than it is today. Not on par with a Western Development Museum, certainly, but with enough room to showcase a substantial portion of the artifacts it houses in replica one-room school houses, blacksmith shops, general stores and whatnot.

If something ever comes of the plan to convert the Legion and the building to the south of it into a performing arts complex the museum is supposed to be a prime candidate to become an anchor tenant. But that likely won't be happening any time soon. So for now the museum is stuck with its smaller space.

On display there now are two shows with strong ties to the city's past. Germantown (an image from which is pictured second from above), was curated by Yolanda Hansen, and examines the working-class neighbourhood that sprung up in east central Regina in the early 1900s as waves of immigrants from eastern Europe settled in Regina. During WWI in particular, many of the immigrants were subjected to xenophobic discrimination by the dominant Anglo-Saxon class, but they persevered and helped create one of Regina's more vibrant and thriving neighbourhoods.

Also on display is First Peoples Urban Experience. Produced through the collaborative effort of the North Central Community Association, Scott Collegiate, the City of Regina Archive and the RPM, it's a five-minute digital exhibit which chronicles the history of Aboriginal settlement in Regina. Until the early '60s, of course, First Nations people in Canada were severely restricted in their ability to move off reserve. Really, it wasn't until the early '70s that widespread migration of Aboriginal people to cities began. With commentary from an elder and another First Nations Reginan, the exhibit explores the Aboriginal facet of Regina's identity (pictured above, by the way, is Greg Girard's Smudge Walk).

Both shows are on until February. But if you're looking for something to do today, check them out.