In brief, this post highlights five items of public interest that were discussed during the November 2021 City Council meeting.
- COVID-19 update
- Dundonald Ave Solar Farm
- Speed Limit Review: school and playground zones
- Recreation and Sport Facilities Grant
- High Performance Civic Building Policy
Other items that were discussed during the meeting include:
- Update on the Rapid Housing Initiative
- Saskatoon Transit Service Standards
- 2022 - 2025 Strategic Plan survey results
The full agenda for November 22, 2021 can be accessed here. This meeting of City Council took place through teleconference and was recorded, as per any other City Council meeting.
The framework has now been in place for a few months, and as committed, a report is on our monthly meeting agenda with updates about any changes to civic protocols. For the month of December, the indicators from the current analysis reveal a "Yellow" or caution level, whereas for the month of November we saw an "Orange" or high-risk level.
There are only a few changes that are being made:
- As individuals over the age of 12 must show full proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to access leisure centres, to align with the current Public Health Order, effective November 17 patrons who are 18 & older utilizing weight rooms, fitness classes and the walking track are permitted to remove their masks for the duration of the activity. All patrons must wear masks when moving to and from activity spaces.
- While most engagement activities will remain online, when deemed necessary consideration will be given to offer in-person opportunities.
- Starting on December 1 staff who have been working from home may begin returning to the workplace, with all staff being required to be back in the workplace by February 1, 2022. The City of Saskatoon currently has a proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test requirement for all staff.
Dundonald Avenue Solar Farm
This report confirms the feasibility of implementing a 2.2 MW solar farm on a piece of marginal land between Dundonald Ave and Circle Dr. The site will generate 2.7 million kWh of renewable energy, powering over 330 homes annually. With the help from the provincial and federal government, this project has a short seven year payback timeline, based on thirty years of operations.
This is an exciting opportunity to implement actions from our climate action plans. Furthermore, with the site being slowly converted to a naturalized landscape, it will also provide further ecological benefits.
Read more about the project here.
Speed Limit Review: school and playground zones
The recommendations for school and playground zones are part of the speed limit review that has been underway this year. In September, City Council voted not to reduce the city-wide speed limit for residential neighbourhoods. Folks will recall this was a widely debated item within the community.
The second stage of the speed limit review is assessing school zones, playground zones and areas with high concentrations of seniors. These items were broken out into the second phase, as the decision around city-wide speed limits impacts these recommendations.
The decision for school zones is to revise hours to be in effect all months of the year, 7 days a week from 7:00am to 7:00 pm. The rationale behind the additional time is that school zones or playground zones reduce the risk of conflicts between vehicles and children by providing a warning and requiring drivers to slow down to a defined maximum speed. A lower speed limit improves safety by reducing the distance travelled before a driver can react, increasing the driver’s field of vision, and reducing stopping sight distance. The times recommended reflect times that most schools offer before and after school programming, and are highest in their use.
National standards were created after our initial school zones were put in place, and the decisions are meant to bring us in line with these best practices. The Transportation Association of Canada identifies that children of elementary school age, when without parental supervision, are typically considered to be the most vulnerable due to their limited abilities to understand and anticipate vehicular traffic movements and their tendency to accidentally enter the roadway. Children of middle age and high school age are typically better able to understand traffic and to control their own movements, which is why the removal of school zones near high schools are being recommended.
These changes will come into effect in 2022 (date to be determined). The full report can be found here, including neighbourhood maps of the approximate locations of these zones and any new traffic calming installations.
The Recreation and Sport Facilities Grant is a new grant program recently supported by City Council, and like the existing Culture Grant Program, is intended to provide annual grant funding opportunities to recreation and sport organizations through property tax abatements. This grant is to provide funding to support recreation and sport organizations in Saskatoon, such as curling clubs, in recognition of their role of providing activities for Saskatoon residents and the contribution they make to the quality of life and economic prosperity of the city.
The City of Saskatoon is committed to actions which create co-benefits for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions, climate adaptation, social benefits and economic resiliency. The High Performance Civic Building Policy improves triple bottom line outcomes in new City buildings, with a focus on reducing building energy consumption.
The purpose of the Policy is to establish a standard so that positive outcomes of the triple bottom line approach are achieved for the construction of new civic buildings, renovations, and building additions. The goal of the policy is to improve energy efficiency, reduce GHG emissions, improve occupant comfort and productivity, and construct resilient and adaptable buildings.
The proposed policy requires new City-owned buildings, additions, or major renovations to meet criteria that would ensure a high standard of environmental sustainability. Specific criteria includes:
- Projects need to attain LEED Silver Certification, as well as City-specific, mandatory LEED credits.
- Projects need to be built as Net-Zero Energy Ready and designed to achieve a maximum air leakage rate.
- Projects need to provide accessibility to drinking water – the Policy addresses this through the inclusion of a minimum requirement for drinking water fountains and water bottle filling stations.
- Projects need to comply with the City’s Accessibility Action Plan.
The proposed policy applies to all new City-owned buildings, additions, and major renovations. New buildings that are constructed on City-owned land or in partnership with the City will be held to the same minimum standards as new City-owned buildings.
Find the full report here.