I hope you have been having a wonderful long weekend.
With a big newsletter outlining upcoming reports to City Council, ward specific news and community engagement opportunities, I will just jump right into the update.
Here's just one quick reminder, if you've ever wanted to join a Coffee with your Councillor event, our next one is scheduled via Zoom on Thursday, May 26 from 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM.
Keep in touch,
Ward 8 Updates
East Side Leisure Centre
The notion of building a new east side leisure facility has been an ongoing discussion between the city administration and YMCA. This discussion has proposed the development of a new Leisure Centre in the Holmwood Sector of Saskatoon, just adjacent to Brighton. The leisure facility is anticipated to be built in tandem with the future high schools planned in Holmwood. At this time, we still do not have a timeline for the planned projects.
The Standing Policy Committee on Planning, Development, and Community Services , supports a joint YMCA – City Leisure Centre that sees both YMCA members, City Leisure Card holders, and Bulk Ticket holders all having access to this jointly operated facility. With this recommendation, the city administration is also seeking to receive City Council approval of this option to engage in further discussion to develop an agreement for both development and operation of this facility with the YMCA.
Throughout the spring, the City of Saskatoon Parks staff in consultation with the Meewasin Valley Authority and the Saskatoon Fire Department, will be performing prescribed fires in naturalized areas within Heritage and Donna Birkmaier Parks, among other areas.
The use of prescribed fire on naturalized park areas is part of the City’s overall strategy to enhance and conserve the biodiversity of naturalized areas in Saskatoon parks.
A prescribed fire is the planned and controlled application of fire to a defined area of land, and replicates the natural renewal process of grasslands reducing the risk of wildfire and enhancing habitat for wildlife. Prescribed fires are a common, cost-effective park management practice in many cities across Canada and the United States and have been conducted safely for many years. Prescribed fires are performed by trained Parks staff, and the Saskatoon Fire Department is either on site or on call to help manage the fire if needed. In previous years, Parks has collaborated with both Meewasin and the Saskatoon Fire Department to conduct prescribed fires in Gabriel Dumont Park and the North East Swale.
Find more information at saskatoon.ca/prescribedfires.
Community Garden at Edward McCourt Park
Welcome to the newest garden collective! Work has begun to prepare the joint East College Park and Briarwood community garden in Edward McCourt Park.
The garden is targeting plots for 20 - 30 gardeners, with a prioritization for the two host neighbourhoods. To learn more about how to get involved, you can contact the Gardening Collective here or the City of Saskatoon liaison here.
Through the public consultation for this site, issues regarding park use, parking and off-leash dog use were raised. We continue to try and work proactively on these issues through our sports monitor staff. The Garden Collective will also add an additional set of "good eyes on the park".
For reference, here are relevant reporting information for bylaw infractions:
City Council Meeting: May 24, 2022
Downtown Grocery Store
Arbutus Properties has requested support from the City of Saskatoon in developing a downtown grocery store in Midtown Plaza. Arbutus is requesting a 5-year tax abatement or a potential one-time grant from the City in addition to an upgrade to Idylwyld Drive/ Auditorium Drive intersection to be upgraded to a fully signalized intersection.
The Standing Policy Committee on Transportation has recommended to City Council that Administration and Arbutus Properties identify a build-out complete threshold that provides certainty of a Downtown grocery store, and that once the threshold is met by Arbutus, that the upgrade to the Idylwyld Drive/Auditorium Drive intersection be funded and implemented through RCE in the amount of $220,000. Committee and administration are not recommending any further abatements or grants. Midtown Plaza recently received a tax abatement for their recent upgrades.
Emergency Residential Shelters
Bylaw No. 8770, Zoning Bylaw, 2009 has defined rules limiting the establishment of an Emergency Residential Shelter to 6 months maximum during a 12-month period at an approved locations. An amendment is being recommended which allows for an Emergency Resident Shelter to be approved up to 18 months based on temporary nature and demonstrated need of use. General regulations for Emergency Residential Shelters would also be amended to require an application to include information to support the temporary nature and demonstrated need for the use.
Previous Amendments have been approved to the Zoning Bylaws such as in 2021 when City Council approved temporary shelters to be set up in an emergency and in the period of 6 months within a 12-month period. Administration has recommended these amendments to City Council for consideration and approval on grounds that it is an urgent need.
Zoning Bylaw Review - Infill Amendments
The Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw review proposes to City Council that there be amendments made to the Zoning Bylaw to align it with identified strategic priorities, current trends, changes to provincial legislation. The review was to evaluate the effects that regulations have had on the built form of infill dwellings and to do a technical analysis of regulations, which ultimately has led to the proposed amendments.
The focus of this round of amendments to Bylaw No. 8770 are related to neighborhood level infill development, and the standards for the development of one-unit, two-unit, and semi-detached dwellings in established neighborhoods.
An information report regarding the current emergency shelter operations in the city as well as information regarding the affordable housing inventory in Saskatoon has been prepared to help identify and support discussion regarding the City of Saskatoon's role in shelters and housing.
There are currently six facilities operating as emergency shelters in Saskatoon. Each facility is operated by separate organizations and their own operating and funding models. The are currently 4,500 units of affordable housing, but current and annual rates of construction do not meet the growth and needs of the demographic accessing them. City Council will continue to access and engage with these reports to digest the shelter and housing operations going on with organizations through the city.
In addition, a separate information report has been prepared that discusses a whole-community approach to safety and well-being.
Additional reports of interest
The full agenda can be found here.
COFFEE WITH YOUR COUNCILLOR
The Zoom link will be posted online ahead of the event.
What's happening in Ward 8!
Here are some other great things happening in Ward 8 soon or put on by members of our community.
Sarina Gersher - Ward 8 Councillor