Saskatchewan·REGINA VOTES

Fiacco focuses on policing, mental health, infrastructure in mayoral platform

Fiacco is one of nine people running to be mayor of Regina.

Tony Fiacco is one of nine people running to be mayor of Regina

Tony Fiacco says he would focus on policing, safety and infrastructure as mayor. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

Tony Fiacco has released the platform for his Regina mayoral bid.

Fiacco is one of nine people running for mayor of Regina. This is his second attempt, after an unsuccessful campaign in 2016. 

At a platform announcement on Oct. 22, Fiacco said he's focused on safety and policing, truth and reconciliation, city streets and infrastructure, transparency and accountability. 

"Our campaign has been about creating your Regina," Fiacco said. "We were listening to real concerns with citizens, leaders and organizations in our city that needs change." 

Fiacco said he has a five-year plan.One of his major focuses is safety and policing. 

"Currently, there are approximately 16 to 24 officers on any given shift in Regina. Our police struggle to keep up with the demand at this level," Fiacco said. 

Tony Fiacco released his mayoral platform on Oct. 22 in downtown Regina. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

Fiacco said there needs to be up to about 30 officers per shift to keep up with demand and reforms in how mental health calls are handled. 

"An officer can be held up to six hours with someone who's not under arrest but is needing mental health and addiction support," Fiacco said. 

Instead of an officer going to an emergency room with a person and waiting with them, Fiacco said the person in crisis should be taken to Ward 1D — the mental health ward at the General Hospital — where a person will help them. 

"We started the conversation with the provincial, federal and Indigenous leaders in our government to change this, we will provide more support to mental health and addictions within our city," Fiacco said. 

"We are going to incorporate help from the Indigenous leaders because we all know that it is the Indigenous community that suffers the most from mental health and addictions, which leads to homeless, poverty and it leads to incarceration and we need to change that."

Tony Fiacco is one of nine people running for mayor of Regina. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

Fiacco said the mental health unit of the Regina Police Service should be doubled as well. Currently two mental health workers are assigned to respond to mental health calls with police officers. Fiacco said this should be a 24-hour service with at least four mental health professionals.

Fiacco said he would increase the police budget to the same percentage of the city budget as it was in 2012. That year, police expenditures made up 21 per cent of the city budget. In 2020 they made up 20.3 per cent.

"This will provide several million dollars more annually for policing that will keep our downtown and our neighbourhoods safe and secure," Fiacco said. 

Fiacco said he also plans to reform property taxes to reward property owners who need it most, such as seniors and low-income families. He also said he would put a premium on residential properties that are not the primary residence of the owner.

Tony Fiacco announced his mayoral platform on Oct. 22 in downtown Regina. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

Fiacco said he also plans to focus on rebuilding roads and investing in infrastructure and bridging divides between neighbourhoods.

He criticized other candidates for wanting to look at rail relocation, saying it has been discussed for decades and isn't going to happen. Instead, Fiacco said he wants an overpass at the Ring Road rail tracks. 

"Regina, it's time. It's time for change. It's time for proper spending of your tax dollars," he said. "It's time for proper recreational facilities in the city. It's time for policing to be provided for so they can turn around and provide you a safer community. It's time for better mental health and addictions care and support."