I hope that you are finding safe and fun ways to enjoy these beautiful fall days. It was great to see many friends and neighbours at the 33rd street fair last weekend. Don't miss the nighttime art festival Nuit Blanche tonight and as we approach the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th, please take a few minutes to plan some opportunities for learning, reflection, and to commit to action. More under the Community News below.
If you're wondering what changes may be coming with respect to the City's approach to COVID-19 mitigation, read about the framework below, and if you're looking for a vaccine today (Sat 25th) a core area clinic is taking place at the parking lot beside White Buffalo Youth lodge until 6pm.
There are some big issues on the City Council agenda this month. If you have feedback on any of these issues, as always, 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 share the deep concern that our local medical health officers are communicating about the trend in cases and pressures on our medical care system. At this point, anyone who has not been directly impacted is the exception. Whether it's a cancelled surgery, a requirement to isolate, a case in the household, or even having to pickup shifts for a coworker isolating with their child. COVID-19 is truly impacting us all. We need to reverse the current trend.
The City is establishing a framework for how our measures should complement and supplement provincial public health orders. This framework recognizes key data that indicates changing risk levels in our community specifically. Risk levels are Green-Yellow-Orange-Red and Saskatoon's currently in the Orange category, trending toward Red. Every person, every institution, every business, every community has a role to play in keeping our whole community safe. I will be supporting full implementation of this framework as a key set of tools in Saskatoon. I believe it will provide improved transparency and predictability for our civic operations and community more broadly and is an important part of reversing that trend.
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.
I have been hearing from many of you about the discussions at Transportation committee earlier this month, and also about pedestrian safety on busier streets after the tragic death of a young girl in our area. My heart is with you and her family and friends. I do believe there is further work to be done to improve pedestrian safety and reduce the likelihood of deaths in the future. I was not in the majority when I supported reduced speed limits on residential streets at Transportation committee, and do not expect to be in the majority at Council on Monday either. That said, there are other approaches I believe could be considered, and will continue asking about these, including consideration of playground zones, school zone amendments, etc. These zones will be investigated further regardless of the final decision on Monday about broader speed limits, and for now, all options are available to Council on Monday. Find the report here (7.2.3 - page 168).
Industrial-Residential interface & nuisance
Residents in some of the areas most closely impacted by proximity to industrial operations, and the nuisances from heavy industry have been working on this issues for many years. Two years ago, Council supported my ask to find a way forward with new regulations for industrial nuisance. The resulting report is in front of City Council on Monday, and identifies a capital project that requires funding from the 2022/3 budget. It also identifies opportunity through an existing incentives program. These two actions together could work to find more appropriate locations for operations that have outgrown inner-city spaces and for others to be held accountable to reasonable limitations on the nuisances that are created and experienced by residential neighbours. I will be working hard to move this work forward in partnership with neighbours, and recognize that pretty much every area of Ward 2 is impacted in some way by this issue. If you'd like to weigh in, please do. You can find the report here (item 7.3.2 - page 243).
Budget deliberations take place at the end of November. No final decision are made until then, but we continue to work to explore options and set an ‘indicative rate’ which is a target for the administration to meet with the budget draft in terms of limiting the property tax increase. We've received a nearly-complete table of both capital and operating budget option items that have been brought forward throughout the year to consider funding in 2022/2023. See them here from earlier this summer (item 8.1.11). Added to that list will be the options to increase the number of property maintenance inspectors to help get us to a more proactive approach for healthier homes and healthier neighbourhoods. This has been an identified priority by Ward 2 neighbours for quite some time and I’m eager to continue making progress through budget decisions this year. I'm focused on this, the industrial interface issues discussed above, and a few other key investments in the area of Community Safety and Wellbeing including support for partnership tables, outreach through the Saweyihtotan project and the development of a community level Community Safety and Wellbeing strategy (7.2.1 and 7.2.2 from Planning Committee) 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, the prioritized table of options will be presented at the Governance meeting on October 17th and budget deliberation meetings start Nov 29th. As always, feedback to all of Council can be made in writing or by requesting to speak.
Updates from last month:
Waste – organics collections & utility model
Last month it was decided that collections for our city-wide organics program that is scheduled to begin in 2023 will be performed in-house. The efficiencies this creates with bi-weekly garbage were the significant driver for me in that decision. Council has also directed that we return to the originally recommended Utility model (vs. property tax model). This model implemented with elements of pay-as-you-throw promotes both minimizing waste and putting it in the right place, thereby reducing both environmental impacts and long-term costs associated with replacing the city landfill. There are lots of details to be worked out and I will be monitoring them for fairness, equity, affordability, sustainability, and to ensure waste ends up in the right place.
Ward 2 News & Engagements
- The third engagement meeting for the West Circle Drive project is scheduled for October 21st at 7pm and the site has been updated with the new preferred plan. All details here.
- You may have noticed construction has begun for the new Meewasin Trail expansion that will replace the closed section of Spadina Cres W between the Gordie Howe Bridge and the Sanitorium site. Construction is slated to continue through October and more details about the project are available on Meewasin Valley Authority's site here under 'Development Projects'.
- September 30th is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as declared by the Federal Government. The City has decided to formally recognize this day and our staff are busy with partners at Reconciliation Saskatoon to organize events and teachings. Check out this calendar with a full suite of opportunities to engage in 'the work' we need to do - individually, and together. Please make time to engage.
- 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.
City Council | Sep 27th
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
- Central Industrial Area Traffic Review
- Fire Station 5 - Capital Budget adjustment
- Walkway Evaluation & Closure policy
- Roadways Emergency Response plan for Extreme snow events
- Residential speed limit review
- Civic naming - 3rd quarter report
- Industrial-Residential Interface study (West Industrial area)
- 58th Street Pond - Track'n'trail Motocross club
- Saskatchewan Polytechnic - leisure and parking lot access
- Winter Parking Patio Pilot
- Meewasin - Financial statements
- SREDA Funding agreement
- Faud Policy
- Financial Forecast - 2021
- Internal Audit charter - Amendments
- 2022 - Councillor appointments: Deputy mayor, Committees
- 2022 - meeting schedule
- COVID-19 - mitigation framework for City + Implementation plan
- Leave of Absence Policy
- Bylaw amendment: discounts and penalties bylaw
Public Hearing Meeting | 6:00 PM
- Discretionary Use - Childcare Centre - Evergreen
- Architectural Control District Design Review Committee
- OCP & Zoning bylaw amendments arising from comprehensive zoning bylaw review
- Proclamations and flag raisings
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