I'm writing to you from Toronto having just attended the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference with several of my Council colleagues. It served as a reminder that the top challenges that cities big and small across our country are facing are largely the same: housing affordability, homelessness, climate change, transportation mix. All discussions emphasized the need to improve how all orders of Government work together on the most challenging issues and I'm as motivated as ever to see progress on the solutions our community needs.
I want to take a moment to recognize the tragic death of Natasha Fox this week as she cycled with her children near the University in our city. My heart goes out to her family and all who called her a friend. Incidents between cars and more vulnerable road users such as people walking and on bike are largely preventable with appropriate infrastructure. Active Transportation network development has been underway in our city for some time, but we need to pick up the pace to make meaningful infrastructure improvements where the risk is greatest. Thank you to all who have reached out to encourage action so far.
City Council meets on Wednesday April 31st at 9:30am. I've shared some highlights below along with updates on programs, projects, and planning. You'll find a full listing of what Council will be making decisions about this month along with instructions about how to engage with the Council meeting in the last section.
Proposed High-Density Mixed-Use land use
City Council will be voting on a proposed amendment to the Official Community Plan Bylaw. The proposed amendment would add a High-density Mixed-use land use to our framework of land uses (and ultimately development options). If approved, this land use designation would be in the toolkit, but not added as a label to any sites. It could be applied to a property after public consultation on a developer's application for the land use to a property but would still not permit development until a rezoning was approved. Both of these processes involve public consultation and at least one public hearing meeting of City Council.
Please note: several areas within Ward 2 (within Caswell Hill and Riversdale) that are adjacent to downtown and near future bus rapid transit stops are contemplated as potential sites within the land use definition. All other relevant planning principles adopted by the City would also apply to the consideration of applications of the land use, such as logical and gradual intensification, etc.
Dedicated Transit Support Workers Consideration
City Council is requesting a report for recommendations and options for a support worker program on Saskatoon Transit buses. I will be asking several questions about this potential initiative. Ultimately, I want to ensure as we consider next steps that we explore a flexible, coordinated, and cooperative approach, integrated with the existing community support network. Additionally, I will be emphasizing the need to steer clear of doing fare enforcement policing as this strategy is shown to be ineffective and is the wrong focus for new efforts. I look forward to making progress on this issue as we work to ensure that Saskatoon Transit is accessible and safe for everyone today and in the future. For more information, click here.
Housing Accelerator Fund
The Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) is a federal funding program that will support local governments in boosting housing supply with an emphasis on complete, low-carbon, and climate-resilient communities which are affordable, inclusive, equitable, and diverse.
Council will be voting on the City’s Housing Action Plan which will lead to the City applying to the HAF. At our discussion earlier this month I requested inclusion of an initiative specific to complex needs housing as many community partners and housing organizations have identified that this is one of the most pressing needs to address homelessness. For more information on the Housing Action Plan, HAF, and the motion to include complex housing, click here.
To see all projects open for engagement visit www.saskatoon.ca/engage
Accessible Parking Review
The City is now reviewing the Accessible Parking Permit Program with a focus on on-street parking within pay parking areas located in the Downtown, Riversdale, Broadway, and Sutherland Business Improvement Districts (BIDs). The City is welcoming feedback from the community via a survey and is looking to improve the Accessible Parking Permit Program with community needs and best practices from other municipalities. The Survey is open for responses until 5:00pm Wednesday, May 31st.
BRT Pilot Station Open Houses
The City of Saskatoon has built a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Pilot Station at the Civic Operations Centre (57 Valley Road) and is welcoming the public to visit, view, and provide feedback on the pilot station. To learn more and register to attend the public engagement sessions taking place June 1st - 3rd click here.
E-Scooter Pilot Program
As you may have seen by now e-scooters have arrived in Saskatoon. The companies Bird and Neuron are the successful vendors for the two-year pilot program. Electric scooters fall under the provincial government’s motor vehicle regulations, so e-scooter riders will have to follow the newly established regulations for scooters. For more information on the pilot program and e-scooter regulations, click here.
Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Days Update
The previously provided Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Days will be delayed this year as a vendor has yet to be confirmed. An update on the program will be provided in late June and in the meantime please consider these alternative options:
Household paint, batteries and electronics can be dropped off at all SARCAN depot locations at no cost.
Used oil, antifreeze, and containers can be dropped off at a SARRC EcoCentre at the Saskatoon landfill for no tipping fee if the materials are identified when entering the landfill.
Visit this website for other drop-off events taking place around Saskatoon.
City Council | May 31st (Wednesday)
City Council meets on Wednesday. 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 by phone or in person). Meetings will continue to be live streamed.
Regular Business Meeting | 9:30 AM
- Flood Control Strategy : Brevoort Park project
- Dedicated Transit Support Workers
- Funding for Active Transportation Fund
- 2023 Recreation & Community Tax Abatements
- Application for Heritage Designation - 850 University Drive
- Discover Saskatoon - Annual presentation
- Protocol Policy - condolences & sympathy
- Election Modernization Strategy
- Appointments - MPC, MHAC, SAAC
- Housing Accelerator Fund
- Budget adjustment - Lift station
- Landfill optimization - project scope adjustments
- Contract Negotiations - IAFF (Fire)
- Municipal Manual
- Private Crossings over Ditches
- Code of Ethical Conduct
- Residential Parking Permit Program
- Campaign disclosure & Spending limits
Public Hearing Meeting | 6:00 PM
- High-Density Mixed-Use: Proposed Official Community Plan Bylaw Amendment [Caswell Hill & Riversdale]
- Proclamations & Flag Raisings
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