In brief, here are seven items of public interest that were discussed during the September 2020 City Council meetings. The full agenda for September 16, 2020, can be accessed here, the full agenda for September 24, 2020 can be accessed here and the full agenda for September 28, 2020 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 saskatoon.ca 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.
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P4G Public Hearing
In the fall of 2017, the municipal councils of the P4G Planning District - City of Saskatoon, R.M. of Corman Park, City of Martensville, Town of Osler, City of Martensville, and City of Warman (Affiliated Municipalities) – endorsed the P4G Regional Plan, Regional Servicing Strategy, and Regional Governance and Implementation Strategy. Shortly thereafter the Regional Oversight Committee (ROC) and Planning and Administration Committee (PAC) were tasked with taking the necessary steps to establish a P4G Planning District based on the endorsed documents. The establishment of a planning district requires approval of a Planning District Agreement and District Official Community Plan by the affiliated municipalities; and a District Zoning Bylaw approved by each municipality with lands within the planning district.
On September 24, 2020 a historic joint Public Hearing was held by the 6 partnering municipalities to approve the Planning District Agreement and the District Official Community Plan. This was approved unanimously by all the affiliated municipalities. More information about the Saskatoon North Partnership for Growth (P4G) can be found at partnershipforgrowth.ca.
Sawēyihtotān Pilot Project
The Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) will lead a new pilot project and Task Force to help support people who are homeless and improve safety in downtown Saskatoon. The pilot will be called Sawêyihtotân (suh-WAY-EE’-tote-tahn).
STC will lead the new community outreach team, which will be based in Saskatoon’s White Buffalo Youth Lodge. The team will include members from STC, the City/Saskatoon Police Service and the organizations that are part of the Saskatoon Inter-Agency Response to Safety and Well-Being group. Two staff members from the Ministry of Social Services and one staff member from the Saskatoon Housing Authority will join the team, with support from the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
The City of Saskatoon is providing $100,000 in funding towards this initiative, while the Ministry of Social Services and Ministry of Justice are providing another $50,000 each, bringing the total funding to $200,000.00. Including staff resources, Social Services will be providing over $117,000.00 in funding towards this important work to increase community safety and well-being in Saskatoon.
The Downtown Safety Response Plan is split into two phases – a comprehensive community-based case management strategy, and a long-term transitional supportive housing model. The immediate priority of this initiative will see the street outreach team begin its work this fall, starting with people in the most urgent need in downtown Saskatoon. The team will work with individuals to develop case plans, establish supports and help them secure and maintain stable housing.
The initial phase, which will carry through over the next several months, will provide valuable feedback into a longer-term plan for serving Saskatoon’s homeless population and others in need of housing and supports. The second phase will be supported by the work performed in Phase One. It will explore a collaborative approach than perhaps a traditional model of a single agency providing supports for vulnerable community members.
Net Zero Demonstration Project
City Council authorized the Administration to formalize a Memorandum of Understanding with the Saskatoon & Region Home Builders’ Association to produce the Net Zero Demonstration Project, culminating in a Net Zero Demonstration Project Parade of Homes in Phase 4 of the Aspen Ridge neighbourhood
Net Zero Energy housing is defined by Natural Resources Canada as producing at least as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis. Net Zero Ready homes are designed and built to the same high energy efficiency standards as Net Zero Energy homes. The only difference is that Net Zero Ready homes are designed and wired so that solar panels can be easily installed in the future making them more affordable today, and allowing them to become Net Zero Energy homes when the homeowner is able to incur the expense of the solar panel system. This support of Action 6 & 7 included in the Low Emissions Community (LEC) Plan which strive for higher efficiency new homes with solar panel compatibility.
Environmental Sustainability Reserve
The establishment of the Environmental Sustainability Reserve implements City Council's decision from budget deliberations to put in effect some long term funding for sustainability initiatives. While the reserve starts small with annual $250,000 contributions, this works towards a sustainable funding source for sustainability work. The policy approved by City Council guides how the funds can be spent. Details of the reserve can be found as agenda item 8.3.1 from the September 28, 2020 meeting.
Organics Processing Update
An RFP was released on January 16, 2019, and closed on August 31, 2019. The Administration then entered into negotiations with the preferred proponent, Green Prairie Environmental LTD (GPE). GPE and the City of Saskatoon are in the processes of finalizing a seven-year agreement with three, one-year options to extend for processing of the City’s curbside organics.
The city-wide curbside organics program is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2023, with single family homes to receive bi-weekly, year-round organics collection. This program does not include the multi-family, industrial, institutional, and commercial sectors. Further reports on development of organics programs for this group will be reported on by Q2 2021.
The curbside organics program will be an increase in service from the current subscription based program, as more materials will be accepted and bi-weekly service will be provided year round. Additional curbside organics materials beyond the current program include but are not limited to the following:
- Baked goods;
- Breads, cereals and pasta;
- Dairy products;
- Salad dressings, and other condiments;
- Food soiled napkins;
- Waxed paper; and
- Fats and cooking oils.
As the GPE did not bid on the optional collections component of the RFP, the Administration will develop options for delivery of this service and report back to City Council in the first quarter of 2021. Past reports from March 2019 can be found here and January 2019 can be found here.
Addressing Systemic Barriers for Participation in City Hall
City Council approved the following three motions to better support participation of underserved or underrepresented populations in the community:
- That the Administration report back on a strategy to identify and address systemic barriers that prevent residents from accessing, taking part in, and providing feedback within public engagement conducted by the City, with a specific emphasis on underserved and underrepresented populations in the community. This strategy should be informed by best practices from other cities.
- That the City Clerk’s Office seek out options to improve the reach and accessibility of efforts to invite residents to participate on Council-appointed advisory committees, boards, and commissions. These actions should have specific emphasis on underserved and underrepresented populations in the community, and should be based on advice from community organizations with linkages to underrepresented populations.
- That the Administration report back on a process to collaboratively and cross-departmentally identify and address systemic barriers in the recruitment and retention of diverse employees. This should include processes and/or models that have been successfully deployed in other municipalities and other major employers in the public or private sector. This report should also comment on whether or not the existing process for self-identification represents best practices.
Foxtail Strategy for 2021
City Council resolved that the Administration report back with a strategy for a coordinated foxtail response in the upcoming growing season. This may include working with land developers, lot owners, Parks Division, Community Standards Division, and the Fire Department to ensure that the many sources of foxtail can be dealt with proactively in 2021.
This has been a widespread concern over the last few years, and a proactive approach to try and manage this nuisance weed is needed.