Keep in the loop with all things Ward 8.
I hope you enjoyed your last weekend of August.
With a hot week forecast leading into the long weekend, I hope everyone enjoys this time.
City Council has been hard at work this summer with our regularly scheduled meetings and additional Special Budget Meetings. This newsletter provides an update on the budget, decisions before City Council this month, and a few ward specific updates.
As always, do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or general enquiries. A lot has been underway and I am always happy to provide any additional pieces of information requested.
Ward 8 Updates
Discretionary Use Application – Private School – 1636 Acadia Drive
Emmanuel Baptist Church applied for Discretionary Use approval, to develop a private school for up to 105 students at any one time, at 1636 Acadia Drive in the Wildwood neighbourhood.
The proposed private school to be operated by Allegro Montessori School Inc. would provide preschool services and education for grades ranging from kindergarten to Grade 6 for up to 105 students at any one time. The private school is proposed to occupy space for five classrooms within a portion of the existing place of worship. The existing building is currently occupied by a place of worship, which is not proposed to change as part of this application.
This item is on the Public Hearing Agenda for this month's Council meeting. Find the full agenda item here.
Changes to Traffic Bylaw
A report is before City Council this month requesting approval to amend the Traffic Bylaw to remove redundant references, address considerations for on-street parking on lay-by lanes and provide a more appropriate enforcement tool for select infractions of this bylaw.
The provisions regarding on-street parking on lay-by lanes are in follow up to concerns that arose in Brighton. In short, this would allow for site specific areas with limited parking along their lay-bys to change which side of the road accommodates parking.
Currently, the Traffic Bylaw does not permit parking or stopping along medians. This includes lay-by lanes that exist in parts of Saskatoon, including new suburban neighbourhoods such as Brighton. A lay-by lane is a unique roadway configuration that includes a one-way driving lane and a median, typically separating traffic from a higher volume roadway.
Following parking concerns brought forward by Brighton residents, Parking Services engaged with residents along the 200 and 300 blocks of Brighton Gate. These blocks of Brighton Gate feature a lay-by lane that separates the resident-access road from Brighton Gate. Due to the narrow width of the lay-by lane, on-street parking can only be safely accommodated on one side of the lay-by lane. The engagement sought to determine if residents would favour parking along the median or along the curb adjacent to the dwelling units.
Twenty residents provided responses to the engagement, of which, 19 were in support of parking along the median side of the lane rather than the curb side. While parking adjacent to the median is a greater distance from the dwelling units, there are generally a higher number of on-street parking opportunities available in cases where the dwelling-adjacent curb includes a high number of curb crossings and driveways.
As such, this amendment would allow Administration to implement the appropriate parking measures as per the desire of residents in the 200 and 300 blocks of Brighton Gate. These measures include prohibiting parking along the curb side of the lane and permitting parking along the median side.
In the future, considerations for parking along medians will be reviewed by administration on a case-by-case basis.
If the recommendations are approved, the Traffic Bylaw would be brought forward at a subsequent City Council meeting. Furthermore, Brighton neighbours in the 200 and 300 blocks of Brighton Gate would be notified directly before the change would be implemented.
Budget and the Funding Gap
Earlier this year the City recently identified a significant funding gap for the upcoming 2024 and 2025 budget. This gap was identified as a part of our budgeting process and is not an indication of the final property tax impact for 2024 or 2025. Nor does this funding gap impact the 2023 budget.
To date, meaningful progress has been made through our Special Budget Meetings to reduce the City’s projected funding gap by a total of $25.8 million in 2024 and $2.3 million in 2025. This means the 2024 funding gap has already been reduced by over half. If left unmitigated, which is highly unlikely, the gaps currently equate to property tax increases of 8.54% in 2024 and 6.04% in 2025.
I have prepared a comprehensive post on my website outlining what items will be discussed at our August 31 Special Budget Meeting and what decisions have been made to date.
Please do not hesitate to reach out and provide feedback on these decisions. By working through Special Budget Meetings, we can keep neighbours in the loop on the recommendations that will make up the budget book for deliberations at the end of November.
Check out this events happening in our neighbourhoods!
City Council Meetings
Request for Internal Borrowing for Black Carts
As part of the preparation for the variable rate black cart garbage utility beginning in 2024, additional smaller carts will need to be procured. Under the approved three cart model, residents will have the choice to down-size to a small (120 L or 135 L) or medium (240 L) cart or retain their existing large (360 L) cart. The smallest black cart size will be finalized during procurement with the selected vendor (standard cart sizes differ across cart manufacturers).
This report seeks approval for internal borrowing to fund the initial cart procurement and deployment of the smaller cart sizes.
If the recommendations in this report are approved by City Council, a Public Notice Report will be completed in September 2023 for internal borrowing.
A subsequent report outlining details for rates, how to swap carts and any other logistics will be coming in the near future.
Community Risk Reduction
The Saskatoon Fire Department has taken a more proactive role to support all neighbours in the City and address unsafe and inadequate housing, which includes liaising to offer rehousing options.
Fire Bylaw and Fire Inspectors receive reports of inadequate housing situations and approach the individuals affected in a respectful, discreet, and dignified manner. Together, SFD and the individuals, will look for a solution to determine an adequate form of housing/sleeping based on the opportunities and circumstances surrounding each person’s background/history. Supports, such as transportation, shelter, connection back to friends or family, social services, food, and water, are most often provided.
Relationship building and trust between the Fire Inspectors and the individuals is crucial. Eighty percent of individuals will accept some form of support or allow regular check-ins by Fire Inspectors who ensure no hazards exist and will continue to offer supports.
An update report was prepared by the Saskatoon Fire Department, which outlines further details of this work. As the City continues to advocate and work with the Province to address housing, health and social services concerns for all neighbours, this information will be shared with the appropriate ministries.
Changes to the bylaw for fireworks
The City of Saskatoon regulates the use of fireworks in the community through Bylaw No. 7990, The Fire and Protective Services Bylaw, 2001 and in accordance with relevant provisions of Canada’s Explosives Act. The Bylaw limits the types of events that are eligible for fireworks displays.
The Bylaw currently allows individuals to use vendor/retailer fireworks without permits on Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, and at New Years.
City Council is considering a recommendation from the Standing Policy Committee on Environment, Utilities and Corporate Services to also allow fireworks without permits on Diwali and Lunar New Year.
Road Renaming Follow-up
In follow up to the direction provided on June 28, 2021 to rename John A. Macdonald Road, a recommendation has been made to City Council on a new name.
Through a process of discussion, relationship-building and sharing, the John A. Macdonald Road Renaming Advisory Committee was created and undertook a process to identify a proposed new name, as well as next steps for education, awareness, communications and engagement to support the change.
The recommended new name for John A. Macdonald Road is miyo-wâhkôhtowin Road; miyo signifies “good” and wâhkôhtowin means “relationships” so the name signifies “good relationships”.
The full report can be found here.
Lac La Ronge Indian Band Urban Reserve Creation
A report before City Council this month provides the proposed content of the Municipal Services and Compatibility Agreement between the City of Saskatoon and Lac La Ronge Indian Band. This forms part of the process to create an Urban Reserve at 211 Wheeler Street.
Once all approvals are in place by Lac La Ronge Indian Band Chief and Band Council and Saskatoon City Council, the Municipal Services and Compatibility Agreement, in addition to the Police Services Agreement, will be signed by the parties at a formal signing ceremony, scheduled for September 11, 2023.
Additional reports of interest
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