It remains a challenging time in our community. I hope you are keeping safe and taking good care of yourself and those around you.
City Council adopted a COVID-19 response framework described last month, and as part of that has asked the Provincial Government to establish gathering size restrictions. Having been advised they do not intend to pursue such restrictions at this time, Monday's meeting will include a report about what options the City may have for establishing restrictions in our community without the provincial guidance requested. See the COVID-19 section below for links to the report.
The other major update on the agenda is a report about the timing and implementation approach for converting waste collections to a utility. I am generally in support of the gradual model as I believe the end service will be better and financial impacts will be eased. More below.
Finally, you may be interested in a report on potentially allowing leashed dogs in riverbank parks (which is currently not permitted).
As always, if you have feedback on any of these or other issues on the Council agenda, I commit to reading all emails I receive before Monday's 1pm meeting. To have all of Council read your feedback, correspondence needs to be received by the Clerk before 10am Monday.
I am saddened by the COVID-19 situation in our community. With a growing number of young people dying in our province, patients being transported to Ontario for care, and ICUs bursting at the seams, I will continue listening closely to the advice of public health experts tasked with advising on the response in Saskatoon. Here is the report about what options exist for implementing gathering size restrictions in our community under Municipal authority. Provincial leadership on this remains the best path forward, but I will consider all options available in its absence.
In addition to stronger public health restrictions, it is clear that vaccination is a critical path out of this pandemic. If you or someone you know needs a first or second dose, check out daily available pop-up clinics in Saskatoon, or availability through pharmacies.
Waste - organics collections & black cart utility timing
There are a couple options in front of us with respect to when and how we move waste to a utility alongside the rollout of the curbside green bin program. Council is leaning toward Option 2 that involves implementing curbside organics as planned in 2023 on a fixed monthly rate and then, in 2024, switching black cart garbage to a utility using a variable rate (some form of pay what you throw). This allows time to implement the variable rate properly, and use the curbside organics rollout as an opportunity to trial various new systems required. Read the full report here and check out a graphic of the two options here, including per household financial impacts. Another important consideration is how to mitigate the financial impact, especially to lower income households. As such, I'll continue supporting work on affordability options at least through a phase in period.
Budget deliberations take place at the end of November. No final decision are made until then, but some initial prioritization of capital projects has been done and this along with various operating budget options are updated on Monday. I continue to hear about the importance of moving forward on efforts relating to: reconciliation and the safety of Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people, property maintenance, emergency planning, and our low emissions community plan. If you have any feedback about budget prioritization, please reach out to share that, and if you want to connect with Council as a whole, budget deliberation meetings start Nov 29th. As always, feedback to all of Council can be made in writing or by requesting to speak.
Community safety & wellbeing
Community calls for help as it relates to the housing and homelessness crisis in our City are growing. The new provincial social assistance program (SIS) is deeply flawed, and there has been a sharp rise in evictions as a result. More and more people are sleeping outside, and as winter approaches, safety concerns are very real. I have been engaging with community stakeholders, and City teams to ensure that there is readiness at the City level to engage fully in the Cold Weather Strategy and other responses, but I'm afraid this won't be enough. I remain hopeful that there will be changes to the SIS program soon, and a more stable approach to the funding of shelters, but cannot stress enough how urgent that is. Please consider following along with those sharing the frontline perspective on this issue including Okihchitawak Patrol Group and QUINT development.
City Council | Oct 25th
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 by phone). Meetings will continue to be live streamed.
Regular Business Meeting | 1:00 PM
- SaskWater Service & Transition Agreement
- Traffic bylaw amendments - accessible parking & speed limit segments
- Martensville - traffic signal agreement
- Dogs on leashes in Riverbank parks
- Rapid Housing initiative - construction monitoring funding
- Urban design program - renewed vision
- River Landing & BIDs - boundaries
- Prioritized 2022/3 budget plan
- Waste utility - timing & affordability options
- Board of Police - membership request
- Health Care worker appreciation - discount leisure
- Storm water management utility - stabilization
- Board of Revision - recruitment & evaluation
- COVID-19 - gathering size restriction options
- COVID-19 update
- Code of Conduct complaints
- Block: Sweeping pedestrian walkways
- Donauer: Controlled corporation boards - role
Public Hearing Meeting | 6:00 PM
- Discretionary Use - Childcare Centre - 2nd Ave North
- Proclamations and flag raisings
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