Speak up, students

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Design Regina is looking for your input to improve the city

Sophie Long
News Writer

Design Regina has been one of the City of Regina’s biggest projects in the past two years, attempting to shape Regina into an economically-safe, pleasant, and harmonious city. Paige Kezima, University of Regina Students’ Union vice president of external relations, has been working with Design Regina to ensure that students’ views are of importance to our city planners.

Design Regina is a program designed to guide Regina’s growth over the next 25 years. The most recent city plan was made in 1986, and the creators have some big changes in mind with the new one. The project has a six-step plan: establishing a project scope; building the foundation; consulting the public; developing, testing, and refining options; drafting the plan; and plan approval.

Consulting the public has been one of Design Regina’s most extensive steps in the process. This phase is where Kezima and other URSU activist committee members began their contact with Design Regina. URSU formed a citizen’s circle, one of the recommendations Design Regina makes to those interested in taking part in the plan. A citizen’s circle can consist of any Regina residents who wish to be included in the plan, and there are workbooks sent out to all registered circles to guide discussions. URSU’s activism committee used these guidelines to direct its questions to students.   

Design Regina reached out to URSU and invited Kezima to a stakeholder conference, which included representatives from different groups across the city. From here, Kezima was left to continue the consultation process. URSU set up a discussions tab on their Facebook page and aimed their discussion at three topics: importance of developing a more effective and affordable transit system to students, creating more affordable housing, and building a truly inclusive community where neighbourhoods can have their own identity, but aren't segregated from the community at large.”

After choosing a focus, the activism committee started to do some research into what students wanted. The committee had open discussions with students in which three points were dominant: transportation, housing, and social issues. Students who were unable to make it to discussions were able to participate in online discussions on URSU’s Facebook page.

Design Regina also worked with URSU to set up meetings and presentations at the university. Sheri Birkeland, the city’s sustainability outreach co-ordinator, made a visit to the university early in September to give a presentation to students interested in the program.

Currently, Kezima is compiling a list of all the issues students have raised. She plans to pass the list along to Design Regina, which will incorporate these views into the city plan. For students who wish to give their opinions, the discussion is still open on URSU’s Facebook page.

“One of the main points that we hope to communicate to Design Regina and the city in general is that students do care about our community and that our input matters,” Kezima said.

The plan reaches 25 years into the future, a time during which current students will choose careers and find places to live. Similarly, this conversation with students is important to city hall, as young residents will be choosing where they wish to live in the future. If Design Regina’s plan is disappointing, the city could experience a major population drop over the next few years.

The plan is far from complete, so residents still have time to submit their opinions. Students are able to do this through URSU’s Facebook page, and all residents can give their opinion by going to designregina.com.

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