City Council in Brief - February 2021


In brief, this post highlights four items of public interest that were discussed during the February 2021 City Council meeting. 

Highlights include:

  • information on a PACE Financing program that provides financing for home owners to undertake home energy retrofits, renewable energy installations and water conservation projects. 
  • progress on the permanent outdoor festival site at Friendship Park.
  • finalization of the bylaw to prohibit businesses from conducting conversion therapy.
  • Platinum Certification that was provided to the City of Saskatoon in recognition of our high quality of data reporting.

Other items that were discussed during the meeting include:

The full agenda for February 22, 2021 can be accessed here.

Please note that in line with the City of Saskatoon’s request for citizens to assist with controlling the spread of COVID-19 we encourage you to email a letter at providing comments or requesting to speak as an alternative to attending the meeting. This meeting of City Council took place through teleconference and was recorded, as per any other City Council meeting.

Furthermore, Internet Explorer will no longer work to view agendas. Please use another internet browser. 

Home Energy Loan Program (HELP)

The City is launching a Home Energy Loan Program (aka PACE Financing) this August/September. This is an exciting opportunity that helps home owners lower utility costs, and helps support jobs in the construction and energy sectors while lowering our greenhouse gas emissions. At this month's City Council meeting, direction was provided around the parameters of the program. This includes:

  • Providing financing for single-family residential property owners for energy efficiency projects (like retrofits), renewable energy installations, water conservation projects, and other projects.
  • Financing is organized through your property taxes.
  • Loan minimum is $1,000. Loan Maximum is $40,000 with the ability to increase to a maximum loan up to $60,000 with 50% of more energy efficiency achieved relative to pre-retrofit performance.
  • Pre- and post- EnerGuide audits required.
  • $500 administrative fee. The fee is waived for income-qualified households.
  • Flexible repayment terms for the loan. 
  • Contractor list established by City, but residents do not have to choose contractor from the list. Do-it-yourself projects are allowed.

Administration will prepare the program based on the parameters above. The program is expected to launch in August or September. Additional background information is available here.

Outdoor Festival Site

City Council approved the first step to developing a permanent outdoor festival site. The Recreation and Parks Master Plan (Master Plan), completed in 2015 and approved by City Council, was developed to guide future decision-making and provide the overall framework for development, delivery and continuous improvement of recreation and parks programs, services and facilities. A festival venue/amphitheatre was ranked as the second highest priority (out of 23 identified outcomes) for facility spaces within outdoor recreation.

The concept plan approved by Council showcases responsive improvements which address the top priorities provided through stakeholder and public engagement data, such as public accessible washrooms, provision of utility services and redesigning Friendship Park to allow for increased capacity of up to 7,500 spectators for an event. 

Funding has been provided for Phase One of the Plan, which includes the development of the Entry Bosque area, the Headquarters Building, as well as completion of prerequisite studies to aid in the development of the detailed design.

The Entry Bosque area is a park/event access point and will provide a gathering space for festival goers, events or the park for passive recreation. The area will include utility nodes to support event organizers with the provision of ticket, merchandise or food vendors within this area. Hard surface enhancements in the area will minimize turf damage and preserve the heritage trees within parks. 

The Headquarters Building, which is situated between Friendship Park and Kiwanis Memorial Park, will provide event organizers with support space to gather, coordinate staff/volunteer activities and storage to collect/transport materials outside the event setting. The Headquarters Building will become the epicentre for coordination of the event while providing easy access from either Kiwanis Memorial Park or Friendship Park. 

Accessible universal washrooms will be included within the building. These washrooms can also be utilized throughout the year by the general public, adding capacity for nearby users of Meewasin Trail and park space. Through engagement, accessible washrooms were identified by the both organizers and the public for year-round access as a leading amenity for importance in the provision of events.

The complete Plan, administrative report, and future updates can be found here.

Conversion Therapy - Prohibited Businesses Bylaw

In follow-up to direction from April 2020 and January 2021 to prohibit conversion therapy, the Prohibited Businesses Bylaw was approved by City Council.

The Bylaw is intended to prohibit the business of providing conversion therapy. The definition of business is the definition used in The Cities Act. The Bylaw is not intended to cover all discussion of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression and this is reflected in the exemption which states that it does not include those that relate to a person’s exploration and development of an integrated personal identity without favouring any particular sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

A common question raised was whether this bylaw prohibits access to counselling services. The bylaw does not prohibit folks from seeking counselling services. As long as the counselling doesn’t seek to change someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expressions then it can be sought. The bylaw clarifies that the counselling must remain nonjudgmental and without a predetermined outcome.

This item was approved during the Public Hearing portion of the February 22, 2021 City Council meeting. The full agenda can be found here.

Platinum Certification Recognition

The World Council on Cities Data (WCCD) awarded the City of Saskatoon a Platinum Certification for the quality of our data. Platinum Certification is the highest level of certification that can be achieved.

The City of Saskatoon has been participating in the WCCD's Data for Canadian Cities Pilot Project. This project works with 15 Canadian municipalities to collect a globally standardized data set that measures the quality of like and service delivery in cities. 

Saskatoon scores very well in many areas with respect to peer cities. Saskatoon’s performance with respect to all indicators will be shared on a data portal (