Well, 2020 is nearly a wrap. As this truly unusual year comes to a close, I'm left with a mix of feelings: unease, concern and frustration about the inequality that threatens the wellbeing of many in our community and worldwide; relief and hope about the opportunity that a new beginning provides - and motivation knowing that this newness is only what we make of it; and mostly gratitude for the opportunity to keep working in community with you. We have a lot to do and I thank you for everything you do in big and small ways to build community.
As many of us plan celebrations, I encourage you to think carefully about the community impacts of those celebrations in the context of COVID-19. It's so important to create special opportunities for connection and joy, and doubly important that we do those in safe ways. Virtual and outdoor connections will be central to my next couple weeks and I'm excited for the creative energy that comes from adjusting and focusing on what's most important to keep everyone safe. I'll be taking inspiration from the ideas shared by some Saskatoon community leaders in this recorded discussion.
Last month I shared a few issues I'm working on and will provide update on them here:
- Washrooms : at budget, I secured a new commitment of $50K to try out new ways to reliably support the operations of our public washrooms through a pilot project at Kiwanis Park (between the Meewasin skating rink and the Bessborough hotel). This has immediately enabled expanding the hours (starting today!) to 10am-8pm 7days/week and will involve some new partnerships in the new year. I remain committed to contemplating the long-term strategy around washroom availability and am working to bring that discussion forward in 2021.
- Housing : Budget 2021 provided an opportunity to secure of our typical funding for affordable housing, and I was successful in adding $100K of base funding that previously had been a year-to-year decision. I hear regularly and consistently that this is a priority for residents and want to be sure the prioritization of this work is secure within city budgets. I'll continue this work going forward as well.
- COVID-19 : Council confirmed that the City has no/few available options when it comes to regulating around COVID beyond what we currently are. That said, we do have a role to play in making sure we're all on board to do our part to keep each other safe. More on COVID-19 and the City here. More on partnership to support those who are made most vulnerable here.
- Industrial Nuisances : Since last month, I've worked with neighbours in King George and Pleasant Hill to move forward some policy/regulation work on nuisances in the West Industrial and have worked with neighbours in Montgomery and CN to work toward mitigating some of the intermodal yard impacts on residents in the SW Corner of the neighbourhood. These spots and others facing nuisances will remain a priority for my work through 2021.
- City Council: Council meets Monday; See the City Council section below for a summary of what will be discussed & debated. Some of the more talked about items include heritage and development consideration on Spadina Cres downtown, and the Dudley Street proposals for bikeway and active transportation & roadway improvements;
- Snow removal: The schedule for neighbourhood snow removal is set (and underway). Lots of planning has gone into how it will be carried out, but the order of neighbourhoods is random as there was no method to lean on to do it any other way. This is causing issues in a few specific areas that I'm working on such as with parking around St. Paul's hospital. Please note: priority road clearing takes place with blowers at night; Neighbourhood-street clearing takes place with loaders in the day. These are separate schedules.
- Saturday Parking: Saturday parking is now free in the Business Improvement Districts until Spring. Time limits remain in place. I hope this helps with some of our contact-reduced/less local shopping!
- Holiday Hours for civic services can be found here
City 2021 Budget:
Council passed an amended 2021 budget this month.
Highlighted changes :
- lowered planned property tax increase
- COVID-19 & snow clearing impacts balanced with Federal and Provincial relief
- reduction to additional increase request by Saskatoon Police Service. I initiated this to align the approved increase level to the known demand preventing budget expansion beyond demand while ensuring that frontline service and priority partner programs such as the Police and Crisis Teams - PACT will not be impacted.
- addition of planned Affordable Housing program investments into base budget (see above) under updates
- approval of the 2021 portions of the Take it outside fund & free parking Saturdays
Ward 2 updates & engagements
Visit the engagement page to check out any ongoing online engagements.
- Discretionary Use @ 343 Ave R South: application for a boarding house at the above property will be at City Council on Monday. Details here.
- Neighbourhood Bikeways project: the online public meetings for the projects in Ward 2 have passed but you can review the project details and submit feedback to the Transportation team here. The Dudley Street project which includes a multi-use path for walking and cycling on Dudley West of Ave P, and traffic calming along with pedestrian improvements East of Ave P -- is in front of Council Monday (council report here). This plan includes general road/sidewalk improvements such as new sidewalks where there are none, curb ramps at intersections that don't have them, improved pedestrian and cyclist crossings, and roadway surface improvements.
- Circle Drive West Functional Planning Study: I have had an update that the third open house will be scheduled in Feb or March 2021 (date tbd) to allow sufficient time post-holidays to advertise it. Details here. Keep up to date here and by emailing: webCDWFPS@Saskatoon.ca
- The Neighbourhood Traffic Review (NTR) plan for Holiday Park and King George is drafted! Take a look and give your feedback here. There's a video from last weeks meeting to watch too.
- Congratulations to the recipients of the Jack Adilman Fund Capital Grant for recreation/sports investment including the Mayfair Lawn Bowling Club right here in Ward 2!
- Skating on ponds - ice thickness report
- More on outdoor Skating and Skiing!
City Council | Dec 21st
City Council meets virtually on Monday. Brief highlights are outlined below. Click here to find the full agenda. Council continues to meet virtually. Correspondence on Council items can be made in writing or as a request to speak (accommodated virtually). Meetings will continue to be live streamed.
Regular Business Meeting | 1:00 PM
- Knox United Church - heritage designation amendment
- Water reservoir land in Evergreen
- Annual rates - prepaid servicing + parks & recreation levy
- Dudley Street neighbourhood bikeway (in Ward 2 : item 8.4.1)
- Traffic light pilot project - Warman
- Cancellation - heat/power project with St. Paul's hospital
- SREDA Funding agreement amendment
- snowstorm response - financial forecast
- option for one-time snow clearing of secondary park paths
- Appointments of City Council & public to : Advisory Committees, Statutory Boards, Commissions, and Committees;
- Appointment of Interim city clerk
- Rates & Fees - cemeteries
- Animal Control bylaw amendments
- Private crossing of ditches bylaw
- Coun. Donauer - Extreme/Unusual Snow Storm preparedness
- Coun. Kirton - Improving Community Engagement
Public Hearing Meeting | 6:00 PM
Discretionary Use & Rezoning applications in Ward 2:
- Boarding House - 343 Ave R South
Concept Plan amendments:
- Stonebridge & Kensington
Bylaws: Procedures & Committees - committee meeting time adjustments;
Proclamations and Flag Raisings
If you'd like to communicate to City Council as a whole about something on any of the above agendas please get in touch with the Clerk's office or fill out the form before 10 am the day of the meeting.
Need to talk to the City?
You can now find all of the online services available on the City's site on one page here.
Customer Service Centre (24hr line)
Roads, Water, Sewer and Sidewalks Emergency Service - Maintenance Requests Program Information
Safety & Property Maintenance:
Report graffiti, unsafe structures, open excavations, smoke alarms, junked vehicles, long grass and weeds
Please note that these appointments help to focus my work, but do not limit my scope.
My City Council Strategic Priority: Community Safety and Wellbeing
My 2021 board and committee appointments will be confirmed Monday; they are:
Standing Policy Committee on Transportation
Standing Policy Committee on Environment, Utilities and Corporate Services
Saskatoon Public Library
33rd Street Business Improvement District
Wanuskewin Heritage Park
Don't hesitate to write, call, or catch me in person to discuss an issue or ask any questions you might have. If you have a service/operational question or need to speak with someone urgently please consult the list of phone numbers above, or call the 24hr Customer Service line: 306-975-2476
Take good care. Wash hands often. Watch out for each other. Wear a mask.
All the best,
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