Author: Jae Won Hur | Executive Director
Yes, I admit it. I wanted all the pitches for myself. I’m going to write quick, robust and concise (I hope) opinions on various things happening around the University and our city. You ready?
FNU Cost Cutting
Lower revenue and funding is influencing the First Nations University to cut costs. In accordance, the lease between FNU and the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada ended and was not renewed. In August, nine employees had to be cut to balance the books, while the University is offering voluntary buyout packages for its staff.
Naturally, these cost-cutting measures and lower revenues are concerning for a great institution such as FNU. FNU offers an array of excellent academic programs, especially those that are geared towards indigenous arts, education, health, and history.
It should be all of our hope for three things. One, let’s hope that the economic conditions of Canada, especially the resources sector, recovers. This will generate additional governmental revenues for University funding. Second, let’s hope that the incoming government (whether it may be the incumbent or another party) takes priority in funding higher education, including the U of R and FNU. Lastly, let’s hope that our incoming Students’ Union becomes an effective lobbying voice for the students to ensure that we have adequate funding.
FNU serves as a function for indigenous people to gain access to an incredible resource- education. FNU’s influential classes are a great resource for all students in Regina. Let’s sustain this great institution with adequate funding and resources.
The Regina Downtown Business Improvement District is looking to expand. What does this mean? This would mean that the official boundary and mapping of ‘downtown’ would expand to South Broad, Osler Street and 13th Avenue.
Let’s talk about our downtown. Regina’s economy grew at a disappointing pace of 1.6 per cent in 2015. In comparison, the economy grew at 3.8 per cent the previous year. The difficult provincial economy has paved the way for economic disappointment within our city. However, Regina downtown continues to expand. New restaurants are appearing, other downtown restaurants are expanding, and more people are flocking to downtown to enjoy the various bars, stores, and restaurants.
There’s a general defeatist sentiment around Reginans (especially the younger generation), that there is ‘nothing to do in Regina’. Yes, there may not be a Madison Square Garden downtown, but there are an array of excellent restaurants, a theater, bars and coffee shops within our downtown area. We should support our local businesses and ensure that our downtown remains a positive and effective cultural hub that our citizens can enjoy.
Expanding our downtown boundaries will provide benefits to businesses not yet within the boundaries. According to the Leader Post, RDBID serves as an advocate for businesses, communicates with event organizers, and organizes promotional events.
This is a right step forward to ensure that our downtown becomes a cultural and entertainment hub for our people to enjoy. Let’s go support our local businesses.
Less Bus Stops in Regina?
The city is proposing eliminating 44 bus stops along major Regina roadways. The argument for these changes are to reduce stop times and to allow for more parking.
Our campus and the city has been collaborating to allow for more public transit within our city. The U-Pass (remember that 14 years ago?) is in the works to be implemented soon.
This proposal to eliminate ride stops are misguided. For one, this sort of strategy is exactly why people are deterred from riding the bus. Parking spots should not take priority over convenience of public transit. It’s difficult to see, also, how a bus stop can make a substantial and notable improvement in parking.
Second, for the elderly or those with limited mobility, eliminating their ordinary bus stops can be detrimental. Think about an elderly person on their daily commute to their errands via bus. What used to be a difficult trek to her neighborhood stop just became that much more difficult. People that have a hard time getting around, have entrenched schedules and routines that they follow to make their life at least that much easier. Eliminating these stops will exacerbate their problems.
Finally, if the city wants to improve quality of bus rides, there are other measures that can be taken. Two measures that come into mind are more express routes to major centers such as downtown and upgrading the interiors of city buses (because it is horrendous). Many claim that fewer ride stops may result in quicker rides, but long layovers and trips are not going to be addressed by a couple changes to ride stops. It needs to be a systematic overhaul of the system to make impactful improvements.
Public transit provides the public with mobility, does less damage to the environment compared to individual car drivers and saves fuel costs for individuals. However, these benefits should be made easily available for those with mobility issues and ensure that the system is effective for everyone.