Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Another Busy Week

Hi: I have had another busy week and have not been able to post some new blogs. The topics are there it is a question of time. I should have more up late this week.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Mayoral Report: July - August 2013

Below is my Mayoral Report for July - August. One of the things I noticed as I filled it out is that there is no policy regarding professional development for Councillors and the Mayor. I find this odd; our Human Resource Manual has a professional development component yet Council does not. We live in a knowledge society which is undergoing rapid change. Further, we are living in a season of life in which our province, our region, and our community is growing and changing. I will be putting this forward at our next governance review session.

Follow Up
Policy Number
July 18
Working Session
·      Strategic Planning
·      Ongoing
·      GP.0.; GP.1.; GP.2.
July 18
Health Meeting
·      Update
·      Ongoing
·      GP.4.; GP.7.
July 19
Mayor’s Hours
·      Met with residents
·      Brought concerns to admin/Council
·      GP.2.1; GP.7
July 22
Council Meeting
·      Public Meeting
·      Refer to minutes
·      GP.0., GP.1.
July 23
Klipper Meeting
·      Debt
·      Ongoing
·      GP.0.; GP.2.; GP.4.
July 24
WCMGC - Kerrobert
·      Urban Co-Chair
·      Ongoing
·      GP.4.
July 25
Professional Development (free)
·      “How Municipalities & Land Developers can Negotiate a Better Future"
·      Ongoing
·      GP.1.4; GP.4.
July 26
Mayor’s Hours
·      Met with residents
·      Brought concerns to admin/Council
·      GP.2.1; GP.7
July 28- Aug 3
·      Personal
Aug 6 – 11
·      Personal
Aug 12
Mayor’s Hours
·      Met with residents
·      Brought concerns to admin/Council
·      GP.2.1; GP.7
Aug 12
Council Meeting
·      Public Meeting
·      Refer to minutes
·      GP.0., GP.1.
Aug 13
Museum Meeting
·      Support proposed growth plan
·      Refer to Committee
·      GP.0.; GP.2.; GP.4.
Aug 15
Working Session
Aug 15
Quarterly Jamac meeting
·      Clear communication
·      ongoing
·      GP.0.; GP.2.; GP.4.
Aug 16
Lessons Learned North Battleford CU Plex
·      Discern how to achieve success for Phase 2
·      Share lessons learned
·      GP.0.; GP.2.; GP.4.
Aug 18 - 20
Mayor School
·      Better governance and stewardship
·      Apply what I have learned
·      GP.1.4; GP.4.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Regina Media Interviews: CJME

I was busy Wednesday afternoon talking with cjme and the Regina Leader-Post about a white supremacist group's attempt to have Kindersley, and other communities across Canada, support their cause. Below is the article based on my interview with cjme.

Small Saskatchewan towns warned about 'European Heritage Week'

City of Regina was duped by white supremacy group before revoking declaration

Reported by Kevin Martel

First Posted: Aug 22, 2013 7:43am

The City of Regina’s blunder has given the heads-up to other communities around Saskatchewan who may be the target of the Nationalist Party of Canada.

Regina had declared a week in October as “European Heritage Week” thinking it was an innocuous celebration of diversity and European culture in Canada. However, the Nationalist Party—the group behind the request—was found to have ties to white supremacy. The city quickly rescinded the declaration.

But the names of other communities who the group wants to make the same declaration have popped up on the party’s website. Places like Kindersley, Pelly and Ponteix.

“They’ve just piggy-backed on what good charities do and it’s somewhat deceptive,” said Kindersley Mayor John Enns-Wind regarding the Nationalist Party’s intentions.

He’s confused as to why the name of their town is on the party’s website. He explained the town has received a declaration request from the party, but will not be granting that request.

“It’s not incorrect to celebrate European heritage or Asian heritage. It’s not incorrect to celebrate any of those. I think where they cross the line is the exclusionary nature of the celebration,” he stated.

St. Walburg is also listed on that website. The mayor of that town said they’re usually pretty careful with declarations.

“The only ones that we declare are ones that we know everything about or get sufficient documentation to declare them,” said Mayor Tony Leeson.

A number of communities in Alberta and British Columbia are also mentioned on the site. Larger cities like Halifax and Victoria have been duped in to making similar declarations in the past, but like Regina, have quickly revoked them.

The link to the original article is here.

Regina Media Interviews: Leader-Post

On Wednesday I was contacted by the media in Regina regarding the desire of a white supremacist group to have Council proclaim "European Heritage Week." Here is the Leader-Post version.

MLAs warn Sask. towns of event tied to white supremacists

By Vanessa Brown, Leader-Post August 22, 2013 

At least two Saskatchewan towns have been warned by their local MLA's office about an apparent trick to declare an occasion connected to a white supremacist group.

The towns of Kindersley and St. Walburg were notified Wednesday after it was revealed that the City of Regina had become the latest city duped into declaring European Heritage Week in October. The event is promoted by the Nationalist Party of Canada, whose founder was convicted of communicating racial hatred in the 1980s. The party's website asks supporters to contact Kindersley, St. Walburg and other towns to proclaim the event.

Steve Rennick, director of communications for the Saskatchewan Party caucus, said calls went out to various constituency offices after Mayor Michael Fougere rescinded the designation Tuesday.

"It's small-town Saskatchewan. You look out for your neighbour," Rennick said. "(The constituency offices) took it upon themselves to contact their municipality just to make sure they knew what it was they had agreed to or were supporting."

Officials with the towns of Kindersley and St. Walburg confirmed they received requests to endorse the occasion on Wednesday. Unlike the City of Regina and multiple other cities over the years, staff in Kindersley and St. Walburg were warned ahead of time.

Kindersley Mayor John Enns-Wind said the request was thrown out and the group has been asked to take the town's name off its website.

"We didn't expect that one coming, and neither did Regina, obviously," said Enns-Wind, referring to the request from the European Heritage Week Celebration Committee that describes the event as celebrating the contributions of Europeans in Canada. He added many requests come in from charities and non-profit organizations asking the town to designate a certain day.

"What the Nationalist Party of Canada has done is piggybacked on a very good practice that other organizations do to spread political ideology. Kudos to our MLA."

St. Walburg Mayor Tony Leeson said the request will be forwarded to council - as is procedure - but he doubts it will be approved. He said the town does not support the party's aims, and called the request "despicable."

The towns of Turtleford, Rosetown and Pelly were also listed on the group's website, but staff in those municipalities said that they hadn't yet received similar requests.
© Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post The website is here

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Unexpected Issues

This is one item I did not anticipate having to address as Mayor.
Earlier today we were notified that the Town of Kindersley had been included on the website of the Nationalist Party of Canada. The group, according to Kevin Martel of CJME, self identifies as a white supremacist group. Should you find their website you will discover that they believe a secret cabal is ruling the world including Russia and China. Further, they refer to David Duke, a former KKK leader and white supremacist in the south of the USA who has run for the Senate, as an authority on this cabal due to his book.
The Town has been working to have our name removed from the website.

Minister Boyd's office contacted us earlier today regarding the political nature of the party. The reason we were listed is that we, along with 6 other municipalities in Saskatchewan, were invited to proclaim "European Heritage Week." Unfortunately for the City of Regina, they proclaimed the said week and will now be rescinding the proclamation. Thank you to Minister Boyd and his office for alerting us to the nature of the party.

As a result of our being named on the website we have been called by Kevin Martel of CJME and Vanessa Brown of the Leader-Post for comments. I have been on the phone with both people this afternoon. I have affirmed the respective heritages of peoples from around the world and how important immigrants are to our community. The other thing I mentioned is that each person, regardless of race or any other criteria, is a valued member of our, and any, community.

The party used a method used by many charities to have Council's across Canada proclaim a week to their cause; we have proclaimed causes for a few causes and charities such as diseases and wellness. The correspondence from the Nationalist Party of Canada will not be on the agenda.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Development Fee Exemption or Reduction Request

Development fees are assessed to developers to help the Town maintain, repair, and replace infrastructure. These fees are assessed by almost all urban municipalities across Canada. Currently, it is estimated that the municipalities across Canada have a collective deficit of $123 billion. Our share in Kindersley is approximately $40 million with total assets of approximately $90 million.
Repairs and replacement on 5th Ave West.
During the SUMA conference in February engineers with Associated Engineers told us that the current level of fees are not enough to adequately address the infrastructure deficit. They told us of one municipality, I believe it was Regina, in which fees were significantly too low resulting in some challenges. After their study the fees in Regina went up to almost $80,000. We are looking at revisiting fees in the near to mid future.

A request came to Council from a numbered company requesting an exemption or a reduction in fees. It is very difficult to say yes to the request given our infrastructure deficit and the fact that in this current budget 76% of capital spending is for infrastructure maintenance, repair and replacement. I empathize with Mr. Bacon because when he purchased the property it was administered by the RM of Kindersley; the RM does not administer development fees to the best of my knowledge.

There are many tools available for economic development. Generally, such tools are used to address specific concerns such as a slow down, revitalizing an area like downtown, 'backfilling' empty lots so there are no empty lots in an area, targeting a specific industry and more. Council has been discussing the use of tax incentives as part of our strategic plan but no decision has been made yet.

I have written more on this topic elsewhere in this blog and if you search 'economic development' you should find the relevant posts.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Partnering for Growth: Brookhollow Estates

The Town has entered into a partnership with Marathon Properties to develop 115.5 acres east of Caleb Village. It is a type of P3 development in which the town gains residents and commercial development plus infrastructure while Marathon, our partners, fulfill their mission and make a profit.
"Brookhollow Estates Concept Plan"
Here is brief overview of how this partnership is expected to work. The property is to be sold to Marathon for approximately $200,000. The next part of the deal is development fees. Development fees are used to ensure adequate infrastructure resources for future maintenance and replacement. The fees the first part are approximately $500,000.
Stages 1 & 2 of "Brookhollow Estates"
The amount the remaining stages are expected to generate are unknown at this time because plans have not yet been submitted. The monies are kept in relevant reserve funds and are not put into general revenues.

This is not where the generation of wealth stops for the Town. Marathon Properties is also developing the relevant infrastructure for the development including: water, sanitation, gutters, curbs, sidewalks, and asphalt paving. The expected value of the infrastructure development is millions of dollars.

This is, generally speaking, how the development is expected to go and how the town will grow. There are still a lot of issues to be sorted out but this is a brief overview.

Correspondence Received

Council, including the office of the Mayor, receive lots of correspondence. Here a sampling of the correspondence we have received in the last couple of weeks.

Kindersley Midget Girls Softball Team: they requested funding support so they could travel to their championship tournament in British Columbia. The team was asked to apply for funding from money budgeted for special requests like this. (I can't think of the name of the fund right now.)

SAMA: this past spring property values were evaluated by SAMA, a provincial agency. During the course of their work their were some significant miscalculations resulting in stress for property owners and extra work for Town staff. The Town wrote to SAMA requesting a refund of monies paid for the extra costs born by the Town. SAMA wrote back indicating that our request would be presented to their Board. We were also cautioned that we were likely not going to receive any monies.

Sask Lotteries: we learned that more than $45,000 has been granted to community groups in Kindersley.

Labour Relations: new act has been adopted and the government is asking for input on the new provisions by Sept 27thThe letter states:
 Our goal now is to review the regulations associated with the various Acts with the intention of: (1) restructuring and organizing the regulations so they are easier to use and understand; (2) eliminating inconsistencies between regulations that result in confusion; and, (3) implementing the changes in The Saskatchewan Employment Act. We are asking for your feedback on the development of the regulations.
The request includes a Review of Employment Standards and Labour Relations Regulations and a Review of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.

If you would like to make a submission please contact the ministry directly.

The correspondence for this particular night was on the low side.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Lessons Learned from North Battleford's CU Plex

Friday August 16th saw myself and three members of the Multi Use Building Committee (MUBC) travel to North Battleford to tour their new CU Plex and hear from Mayor Ian Hamilton and Bill, the facility manager. It was a great learning experience and the conversation amongst the four of us as we traveled informative.

Let me give you a bit of tour and I will explain as we go along the way.

Lobby arranged for meal.
The Entrance area of the Dekker Centre
As we entered the theatre facility we were surrounded by the sunlight and wide open space in which to have a reception for 400 with people standing or a couple of hundred with tables. Two catering companies have exclusive rights to serve food in the Dekker Centre. As the photos attest, the space leading into the theatre is a good experience.

The photo on the right is where you enter the lobby whereas the photo on the left is what you see as you approach the box office and the coat check.

The view from the front area is terrific and has surprised many people.
A view from the Lobby of the Dekker Centre in North Battleford - August 2013
The Ceiling in the Lobby
Creating a good experience is key and the design included attention to detail as can be seen by these ceiling photos. The focus for the manager is customer service ensuring that the evening's experience is as enjoyable as can be.                                                                  

Looking outwards to the overhang.

The Dekker Centre was a $14 million project with 50 cent dollars from the Federal Government. There were also significant private contributions towards this project. The Dekker Centre is run by an independent Board with the City having 3 members on the Board.
Dekker Centre has a capacity of 385 - it is 50 feet from the front of the stage to the back of the last row
At this time the City rents the facility to the Board for $1 per year and provides an annual subsidy of $220,000 on an operating budget of $575,000 with a full-time staff of 4 and many part-timers who only work if there is  an event.
The ropes required for rigging in their 87' tower.
Should you travel to the Dekker Centre to attend a show, like Colin James who is coming, then the box office will also collect $2 towards setting aside a reserve fund for the theatre. In time stuff will wear and break and need repair and replacement.

As you moved towards the back behind the stage they have a great area for performers to offload their equipment. The Dekker Centre strives to give both customers and performers a terrific experience to ensure they will return.
Large back stage space for equipment and carpentry.

Performers have access to a green room, where they wait before performing. There are also two good sized dressing rooms with mirrors everywhere.

Way too many mirrors for my comfort; but, the dancers love them.
Moving on from the stage area and around the corner from the dressing rooms is the kitchen which can serve 400 hundred people. In our discussions so far the kitchen is considered very important.
Doing dishes for 400 settings the easy way.
The theatre has a hall for dress rehearsal and functions of 200 or less. The floor in this room is the same as on the stage.
Rehearsal hall and function room for crowds less than 200 people.
The facility is impressive. It has been the manager's experience so far that seating for 385 is working. Booking acts is a combination of finding the right time to fit the right cost. As an example he said that if you want an act for Saturday it may cost $50,000 but for a Tuesday it may only cost $10,000. Booking an act is also dependent on a groups travel resulting in a small travel day to do laundry and yet perform.
Have a positive experience

What I am thinking is that for the theatre to be successful seats need to be sold and patrons have to have a continuously positive experience. Consider this: not all shows sell out: as a result patrons experience should not be affected by empty seats. The more nights the theatre is booked the more revenue it will increase. However, not every show on every night will attract 385 people.

Because the CU Plex is 4 separate buildings there is no unifying place for people. To address this issue the designers came up with the 'plaza.'
The Plaza at CU Plex
It is possible to hold outdoor performances in this space and they are also considering other uses such as an outdoor skating rink in the winter.

The next facility we visited was the pool; a beautiful facility.
A great pool; it made me envious
The pool is about 40,000 square feet and included a 6 lane swimming pool 25 metres long for competitions, a steam room (yea!), whirlpool (yea!), a wave pool, and two water slides of which one is a 'rocket.' The pool cost $24 million to build with an annual operating budget of $1.4 million. The Province of Saskatchewan contributed $7 million to this project.
The Yellow Rocket Ride
The policy in North Battleford is 50% cost recovery leaving the City to subsidize $700,000. The facility manager feels strongly that the wave machine is a strong attraction for swimmers. With this statement I now have to confront my bias against the wave machine based on cost (approximately $1 million). The pool has about 70 or so employees who are mostly lifeguards and water instructors. The people with this skill set are generally hard to find. The City started a couple of years ahead of the build training people for the positions.

The final facility we saw was the fieldhouse. It was impressive as well. The staff commented how surprised they are with the amount of use it is receiving.
One half of the fieldhouse which is half of a soccer pitch.
The other half of the fieldhouse has a more gym like structure to it. The staffing at the fieldhouse is about 5.

Set up for badminton, tennis, and basketball.
The fieldhouse was an $11 million facility that was a design and build compared to the pool and theatre which were build to design.

Bene Notes

Overall the project came in at about $60 million. Not all of their 'committed' partners kept their initial commitments. At the beginning the City was looking for an even split in funding from the Federal Government, Provincial Government, and the City. Instead the City raised $10 million and kicked in approximately $22 million to make it happen. Another funding partner was Western Economic Development Corporation.
Its a long path to build our project.

The project was very challenging and one of the toughest parts was finding the right person to champion the facility for fundraising purposes. It took them three tries over almost 4 years to get the right person. This will be critical to Kindersley's success.

Almost all of the naysayers are now on board and appreciate the new facility.

There is more I learned in my conversations with Mayor Ian Hamilton and I am looking forward to learning more. I am still thinking on some of our conversation and will share more as my thoughts mature.

Next Steps

The next steps are to accept the letter from the Multi Use Building Committee and then have a round table conversation with interested parties to agree upon next steps. Some of those next steps includes establishing an arms length Foundation to lead fundraising, a building committee to steer the project, and develop benchmarks to ensure we are on track to realize Option A.

We need help and contact me if you want to be a part of one of Kindersley's and West Central Saskatchewan's most significant project in our generation. If you want to leave a tangible legacy for the next generation, if you want to tell your friends that you helped build this, and if you want to make a difference in Kindersley and West Central Saskatchewan, then email me and we will talk.
Looking at the artificial turf from the walking track through protective netting - lets put barriers down and build