Heritage and Garbage

Monday’s City Council meeting saw three buildings receive municipal heritage status.  CR 11-152 Cornwall Row house, 2343 and 2347 Cornwall Street, (above) was built-in 1912 reflecting the ‘Regency style of housing made popular in Britain during their 19th century urban expansion (1).  This is one of few examples of row houses from Regina’s period of growth before the First World War. 

Interestingly, row housing is seeing a resurgence with developers and planners designing new neighbourhoods right now.

CR 11-154 the Waddell Residence at 1504 Victoria Avenue (see the link for details).   

CR 11-153 the final building, is the Turgeon International Hostel at 2310 McIntyre Street.  The house was threatened in the early 80s and moved from 2320 Angus Street to McIntyre.  In 1983 the house became the hostel it is today (2).

Among the committee reports Monday evening was one from Community and Protective Services (CR 11-161) to renew the Atoskata alley liter pick-up contract.  Atoskata is program where youth who have run up against the law can make restitution by working, in this case, in garbage clean up (see more here). 

Councilors had nothing but praise for the program.  Councilor Clipsham wondered if there maybe an expanded role for Atoskata with the change to roll out bins and the corresponding deficit for bulky waste removal.  The answer seemed to be that Atoskata could pick-up some of the slack. 

I was concerned, however, when Councilor Murray, in praising the program suggested that removing bulky waste was work city employees were burdened with and now this group is stepping up.  

When I heard that, a red flag popped up in my mind: I worry about the devaluing the work done be waste management employees at the city.  Doing community service to repay a debt is all well and good but not necessarily in place of someone’s living wage.  The Atoskata participants are paid, but only a minimum wage and their labour is spoken of as a kind of penance. 

To be clear I do not think this is a problem right now considering Atoskata’s  capacity (24 young people, working afterschool).  The benefits to participants through skill building, team work and taking responsibility are, apparently, fantastic for their personal development.  These factors outweigh my concerns.  

Still, we must think about the effects of contracting out city jobs in general but also specifically as changes (Councilor Clipsham quoted 40% of Regina homes with back alley service that will change to roll out bins in the next few years) to our waste management program continue. 

Works Cited:

1.  City of Regina, Regina’s Heritage Tours The Transitional Area. 2nd Ed. (Regina, 1993) #4, Page 4

2.  Ibid. #29, Page 10

Heritage and Garbage

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