Failing to victory

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The failing of Regina’s megaprojects may be the only thing that can lay the groundwork for fixing our problems

Let’s build this damn stadium.

When news surrounding the proposed stadium was first circulating, I was vehemently opposed, but I now see how wrong I was. This is a project the City of Regina should be – nay – needs to be pursuing.

But, I’m probably opposed to the public-private partnership (P3) funding of the new waste water treatment plant, right? Nope. The municipal government is doing the right thing with this too.

And what I mean by “doing the right thing” with these proposed projects is that in fact they are doing them wrong – but they are doing them wrong enough.

Think of the worst things about this city: urban sprawl, transit, lack of public consultation on large projects, and ugly surface parking lots spring to mind. All of these things, as terrible as they might be, are still functional albeit minimally. It might be poorly planned in terms of aesthetics and function, but you can still navigate your way through Quance Street; it might take you 45 minutes to an hour to get anywhere you need to go if you’re taking the bus, but you still can do it; our roads may be pockmarked with potholes, but there aren’t entire two-lane sections of road washed out. The terrible things about this city aren’t terrible enough; they all still find a way to hobble along like a three-legged puppy, but with all of the tragedy and none of the cuteness.

These two major projects the city is undertaking are directly linked insomuch as a failure regarding either, but hopefully both of, the stadium (the finishing touches on the delusion of Regina as a legitimate, major metropolitan centre) or the new waste water treatment centre (an essential component to the well-being of the city) will be disastrous enough to stimulate actual change in Regina.

The only way to stop failing is to fail harder, to fail so hard the people will come together and chorus, “We will fail no more.” Clearly, without drastic action the city will continue down its path of being a spilled big city. Complete, catastrophic failure is the only thing that can change Regina. We went to the polls – nadda. We protested at city council – nothing. We wrote bitchy things about it in alternative media – zilch.

The case that privatization of something as essential as water (you know, that stuff you need to live) is bad is not a difficult case to make, but that’s another long-winded editorial in itself. The case that building this stadium is bad idea is also not difficult to make, but that’s also not why I’m writing this. Quite likely, either (and potentially both) of these projects will go horrendously awry. Nevertheless, we need to continue pursuing both projects precisely because they won’t succeed.

I mean, if the people of this city are willing to privilege giving a home to their football team instead of the actual people in this city without homes, imagine how pissed they’ll be when that football team doesn’t have a home, or when they have to wait to move in to their new home, or when their new home costs substantial amounts of money more than what was forecasted – not to mention the fact that some of the actual residents in this city might not have homes and our water prices could go through the roof. This is the motivating tragedy required to actually change this city.

With the hopeful failure of this stadium and inevitable shitstorm that is the new P3-funded water treatment plant, people will be forced to call for change. People can’t ignore soaring water prices. People won’t ignore a failed delivery on anything to do with their beloved Riders. Even if you find yourself against both of these large projects, just nod and go with it because failure of this magnitude might be the last hope we have of trying to fix this city.

We’ve all been pretty fired up about these things, but let’s just take a minute to relax, maybe grab a case of beer, and let this unfold.

Paul Bogdan
A&C Editor

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