Hello! It's been a couple months since this was last delivered in September before the Civic Election kicked off. There's a lot to catch up on.
For anyone receiving this for the first time, Welcome! The purpose of this newsletter is to offer updates about what's going on at City Hall - upcoming decisions, ongoing engagements, etc. It is delivered just ahead of each Council meeting monthly. At the end of each email I include: 1. a non-exhaustive listing of items on the next Council meeting agenda; 2. a listing of my current committee appointments; 3. a list of some useful contact information relating to civic services;
I'm always looking to improve my communications to you and have a few things in the works, but if you have any feedback in the meantime, please be in touch. Also, if you have questions or feedback about civic issues, please reach out. My contact information is at the bottom and you can also just reply to this email.
While COVID-19 has limited our ability to gather, the last couple of months have involved many one-on-one discussions about our community, and I'm excited by the opportunity that another four years in this role provides to help move forward improvements big and small on your behalf. Thank you for your commitment to our community and for your engagement.
A few quick wins this month such as resolving a crosswalk sign visibility issue and addressing snow clearing misses have me energized. I'm ready to move forward with bigger conversations raised by you, from truck traffic nuisance to the deeper partnerships and investment needed tackle housing and homelessness challenges in our community.
A few of the issues you'll see me working on over the next few weeks and months include:
- Washrooms : contemplating long-term strategy around washroom availability and in near-term ensuring public washrooms such as those at River Landing and Victoria Park remain open and operating reliably and safely for all residents as we move through winter and with the added challenges of COVID-19. This is especially important for those who have few other options, but also critical for the community as a whole as we all look to find enjoyment outside. You can find a listing of parks with washrooms here.
- Housing : assessing civic investment in affordable housing development and its ability to achieve the current Housing Business Plan and the needed progress with community and government partners beyond that plan.
- COVID-19 : with case numbers growing I'm focused on ensuring the specific needs of Saskatoon as a provincial hub of services, and with the highest number of active cases are being considered in the Provincial response to the pandemic and that civic services are adjusted and prepared to ensure critical service and keep our community and civic staff safe. Thank you for doing your part. More on COVID-19 and the City here.
- Industrial Nuisances : From trucks to trains, dust and noise, the 5 industrial areas located among our 8 Ward 2 neighbourhoods make for many longstanding frictions. I'll continue working on these with the neighbours most impacted.
- City Council: Council meets tomorrow (Monday); See the City Council section below for a summary of what will be discussed & debated.
- Snow removal: One item being discussed tomorrow is the plan for the removal of snow piles from neighbourhood streets. You can read about that here or at the links to the full agendas in the City Council section below.
- Saturday Parking: Another item of interest is the consideration of suspending pay parking on Saturdays in the Business Improvement Districts until Spring. I am keen to hear from you about whether you think it's a good way to boost activity in commercial areas and whether the financial impact is justified. Find the report here.
- City Budget: The 2021 City Budget will be debated this week on Wednesday Dec 2nd and Thursday Dec 3rd. More on that below.
City 2021 Budget:
The 2021 budget plan was set a year ago as part of a 2-year budget planning cycle. Significant revisions relating to COVID-19 are being presented by the administration.
Here are some key factors reflected in the 2021 budget amendments
- Revenue pressures: the City is facing lower revenues from Leisure Centres, Transit and the Landfill; These are only partially offset by reduced spending in these and other areas
- Expenses pressures - COVID-19: keeping the public and staff safe at Civic facilities and workspaces has added expenses for cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment; These expenses are only partially offset by reduced spending through hiring and spending freezes, etc.
- Expenses pressures - Blizzard 2020: snow clearing and removal following the snowstorm on Nov. 9th has exceeded the 2020 budget by approx. $10M and will continue to impact the snow budget in 2021. Offsetting this unanticipated cost through reserves will only be partially possible.
- Revenue relief - a federal COVID-19 relief fund to Cities allocates approx. $19M to Saskatoon. Added to the provincial funds to municipalities for COVID-19 in 2020, these funds will help tremendously to relieve some of the above pressures.
- In Balance - through careful allocation of government relief funds, achieving efficiencies and constricting where possible, the administration has proposed budget adjustments that, despite a $20+M deficit bring the budget for 2021 back into balance without adding to the planned tax increase.
Budget meetings are being held virtually starting Dec 2 @ 1pm and are livestreamed as are all meetings of City Council (and committees). You're invited to reach out to me with any feedback you have. To engage all of Council, you'll need to use this process.
Ward 2 updates & engagements
Visit the engagement page to check out any ongoing online engagements.
- Discretionary Use @ 412 Ave P South: application received for the above property to accommodate the elders housing planned as part of the Pleasant Hill Village redevelopment. Feedback being sought here.
- Discretionary Use @ 343 Ave R South: application for a boarding house at the above property is being received at the Municipal Review Commission next week and for consideration City Council on Dec 21. 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.
- Circle Drive West Functional Planning Study: the updated preferred plan is online and a third open house will be scheduled in early 2021. Details here. Keep up to date here and by emailing: [email protected]
- Neighbourhood Traffic Review (NTR): the traffic plan resulting from initial engagement for Gordie Howe Management Area, Southwest Industrial and West Industrial NTR is in development. Read more.
- Neighbourhood Traffic Review (NTR) implementation: I've been hearing some feedback about a few recent traffic installations such as the new intersection configuration at 17th St W and Spadina Cres W. If you have feedback or questions, please get in touch with the NTR team: [email protected] Implementation is typically temporary so that evaluation can take place and your feedback is critical.
- Skiing: Did you know that for a modest fee the City is able to groom cross country ski trails in neighbourhood parks? This is in addition to the trails typically groomed annually along the river and in sector parks. Check out a map of the major groomed trails here, and consider engaging your community association if you'd like to see trails in your smaller neighbourhood park!
- Good Neighbours: The City has published a Good Neighbour Guide. Find it here.
- Stronger together: Community continues to come together to keep frontline community serving organizations operating safely through the pandemic to keep people fed and housed. With case numbers on the rise in Saskatoon and in our core areas, this work is more important and urgent than ever. Learn more about the InterAgency Collaboration here.
City Council | Nov 30th
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
- Appointments of City Council to : Deputy Mayor, Personnel Subcommittee & Standing Policy Committees
- Appointments of Public members to various Boards, Commissions and Committees
- 2021 Council & Committee meeting schedule
- Snowstorm 2020 Local Roadway Snow Removal Initiative
- Transit Operator Barrier Retrofit and Addition to Bus Specifications
- Suspension of Saturday Pay parking Requirements
- Coun. Jeffries - Condominiums - Irrigation Use
- Coun. Jeffries - Accessibility Standards - New Parks & Playground Structures
Public Hearing Meeting | 6:00 PM
Discretionary Use & Rezoning applications:
- Fee Bylaw - consolidation of development fees into one bylaw
- Intent to Borrow - Internal borrowing for purchase of 3815 Wanuskewin Rd and 3802 Arthur Rose Ave
Proclamations and Flag Raisings
Budget 2021 | Dec 2nd and 3rd (or until complete) | 1:00 PM
As outlined above, the 2021 budget plan will be amended and set this week.
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 2020 board and committee appointments are:
Standing Policy Committee on Planning, Development and Community Services
Standing Policy Committee on Environment, Utilities and Corporate Services (vice-chair)
Diversity Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee
Saskatoon Public Library
33rd Street Business Improvement District
Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership
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
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