Happy New Year! Welcome to the first Ward 2 update of 2017 and my first update as your new City Councillor.
I will do my best to send a similar update monthly. They will not be exhaustive, and most will be shorter than this one, but I hope you find them useful for keeping up with some of what is happening at City Hall. In particular, I will be flagging issues for feedback and I hope you'll provide some when you're able. If you'd like to continue receiving these email updates there is no need to do anything further, simply read on. If you'd prefer not to receive monthly updates about Civic happenings in Ward 2, no problem, just scroll to the bottom and click 'unsubscribe' - you can always resubscribe on my website www.hilaryyxe.com or by sending me an email at this address.
The first couple of months on Council have been exciting, busy, and I've learned a lot. There is lots left to learn, and I am looking forward to the work ahead. I appreciate all of the questions, comments, and well wishes that I have received from many of you since taking office and look forward to connecting further in the coming months and years. I have listed my 2017 committee & board appointments at the bottom of this email for your reference. Please note that these appointments help to focus my work, but do not limit my scope.
Ward 2 updates:
- The Saskatoon Public Library is expanding hours at two branches in/adjacent to Ward 2: the Dr. Freda Ahenakew branch (newly renamed, previously called The Library on 20th Street), and the Mayfair Branch on 33rd Street. These hours will better match the service at other branches and will better serve our community. Check out the SPL Winter Program Guide for programming opportunities.
- The Pleasant Hill neighbourhood will be one of 11 neighbourhoods in the City to have a Neighbourhood Traffic Review in 2017.
- Implementation of traffic safety measures continues - for instance, the installation of 'Active Pedestrian Corridors' at 20th St./Ave G as well as at 33rd St./Ave C. These will be button activated flashing signals to improve pedestrian crossing safety.
- The Southwest Transportation Study (formerly 11th Street corridor review) is well underway. The public input phase online is closed, however, you're welcome to continue providing input to me. I have received a lot of input and appreciate everyone taking the time to share their ideas and concerns -- I will be working hard to see these addressed.
- Imagine Idylwyld - is a design project to reimagine the street design of Idylwyld from 20th to 25th Street. Later phases will see more Northerly sections of the street addressed. The online survey, which received 2,800 responses, is now closed. Further consultation will take place around proposed alternative options - watch for this in the next few months.
- South Caswell Redevelopment: Saskatoon Transit will be moving out of the Caswell Hill facility (bus barns) later this month. This has been a long-awaited transition for Caswell Hill residents. Some funding was approved for the second phase of environmental assessment, and next steps to keep the redevelopment process on the bus barns site moving ahead. More to come.
- Civic Operations Centre (COC): Construction was completed in mid-December, and the 450,000 square foot facility located near the City landfill is now ready as the new home for Saskatoon Transit. The snow storage facility at the COC is also operational.
- An accelerated Lead Service Line (LSL) replacement program will begin in 2017 which will see all of the 4,900 LSLs in the City replaced over the next 10 years. Many of these are in Ward 2 neighbourhoods. Going forward this accelerated program will also be more efficient due to improved coordination with other underground and road surface work.
- Council voted to increase the Access Transit team by 1 full time operator, something I was pleased to support in order to begin addressing the service deficit that has seen many ride requests denied. It is also an effort to make maximal use of the City's access transit bus fleet.
- 2017 Budget: 17 hours of debate resulted in a budget passed with a modest tax increase of 3.89%. This increase is largely dedicated to the Building Better Roads Program, and the Snow and Ice Management Program. Increases to the Saskatoon Police Service budget and the Saskatoon Fire Department also contributed. Good discussion and debate was had around many issues and I feel positive about the work and progress that this budget will realize over the next 12 months for all Saskatoon residents. Many of the projects listed above had funds specifically dedicated in the 2017 budget.
My 2017 Committee Appointments:
Standing Policy Committee on Planning, Development and Community Services
Standing Policy Committee on Environment, Utilities and Corporate Services
Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee
Saskatoon Accessibility Advisory Committee
Saskatoon Public Library Board
Riversdale Business Improvement District
Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership
Saskatoon Ideas Inc. Board of Directors
Don't hesitate to write, call, or catch me in person to discuss an issue or ask any question you might have.
All the best,