City Council in Brief - December 2021


In brief, this post highlights five items of public interest that were discussed during the December 2021 City Council meetings.

Highlights include:

  • Temporary Wellness Shelter
  • Downtown Event and Entertainment District Advisory Group
  • Elm Disposal Changes at Landfill
  • Groundwater Protection Policy
  • COVID-19 Update

Other items that were discussed during the meeting include:

The full agenda's can be accessed here for December 9, 2021 and December 20, 2021. This meeting of City Council took place through teleconference and was recorded, as per any other City Council meeting.  

Temporary Wellness Shelter

The City has been approached by community groups expressing an interest in providing a temporary emergency shelter during the cold weather for those in need. Having identified key considerations, an active search has now resulted in an identified City owned property.

As an Indigenous-led community response, the Saskatoon Tribal Council's vision for a temporary emergency residential shelter is to provide a temporary wellness center for people who are unsheltered, offering wrap-around services for individuals and relatives seeking shelter. A priority for this shelter is safety and security for the residents and relatives, safety for staff of the shelter, and safety for the surrounding properties. Some of these services will include:

  • assistance intakes;
  • Indigenous Elders;
  • COVID-19 testing;
  • regular wellness checks during the day;
  • Public Health supports;
  • food services;
  • laundry services;
  • sleeping accommodations; and
  • connection to assistance programs and housing.

Direction was provided by City Council to lease a portion of 145 1st Avenue North until April 30, 2022.

All these temporary efforts are being made to better support those facing homelessness in our community to obtain long-term and secure housing options.

Downtown Event and Entertainment District Advisory Group

The composition and terms of reference for the Advisory Group that is intended to support the Administration and City Council within the governance structure for the Downtown Event and Entertainment District project has been prepared. The Advisory Group is just one group of many that will be assembled to fulfill specific roles in the overall governance structure for the project. For example, project teams will be assembled to work through design details of specific facilities such as the event centre/arena and convention centre. 

The open call will be advertised through a public service announcement, City Page advertisement, social media, website, and targeted promotions to reach all demographic groups. Full details on the terms of reference and composition can be found here.

Elm Disposal Changes at Landfill

Through Committee discussions over the past few months, changes are being made to the cost of elm wood disposal at the landfill. A $50 flat fee is being implemented at the landfill for loads that are primarily elm wood. Furthermore, the following actions are also being undertaken:

  •  Discontinue special handling fees for loads that are primarily elm wood immediately;
  • Complete research to verify effectiveness of the $50 flat fee for loads that are primarily elm wood;
  • Develop a coordinated cross-departmental communications and education strategy for Dutch Elm Disease; and
  • Complete a pilot of a comprehensive behaviour change program targeting proper elm wood disposal.

The full report and background information is available here.

Groundwater Protection Policy

Groundwater is an important natural resource that requires protection to ensure its viability is sustained for present and future users. The Water Security Agency (WSA) regulates the use of groundwater for non-domestic (industrial and commercial) purposes in Saskatchewan. The use of groundwater for domestic purposes, which includes residential pumping wells, is not regulated by WSA. Monitoring wells are also not regulated by the province.

There are gaps in the regulation of groundwater wells within city limits that contribute to risk of aquifer contamination, drinking water cross-contamination, public health issues, and associated liabilities. There are two types of wells that are of concern: residential pumping wells used as a source of domestic water; and monitoring wells that are used to measure, test, or sample groundwater.

The City is creating the following:

  • A bylaw to prohibit new domestic-purpose pumping wells within city limits; and
  • A new development standard be created for monitoring wells installed, maintained, and decommissioned during the land development process.

It is anticipated that an approval report with a recommended effective date for the bylaw and standards/specifications will be brought forward in Q4 2022.

COVID-19 Update

This report provides the monthly update to City Council and the community on the current levels and corresponding measures for consideration as outlined in the Framework

For the month of January 2022, the indicators from the current analysis reveal that we will remain in the “yellow” or “caution” level. The level for December was “Yellow” or caution. 

Following the guidance of the Saskatoon Medical Health Officer, the Public Health Orders currently in place and the considerations for measures in the framework, the measures currently in place will remain in place for the month of January. The health, safety and well-being of employees and facility patrons are top priorities for the City of Saskatoon.

With the emergence of the COVID-19 variant Omicron in Saskatoon Administration has continued to consult with the Saskatchewan Health Authority Saskatoon Medical Health Officer to determine any potential changes required to the current measures. While there is much to learn about Omicron, the current information suggests that the measures in place at this time in our public use facilities and for our staff will continue to protect against the transmission of COVID-19. As always, we will remain ready to adjust quickly to any changes in Public Health Orders or recommendations from the Provincial Government.

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