Well it's that time of the year where you hear from me twice this month. A printed newsletter has been delivered to all Ward 8 homes this past week. This newsletter provides an opportunity to reflect on 2022 and look ahead at the year to come. Thank you for everyone for your feedback so far on this newsletter.
Looking ahead at this month, there are a few ward specific updates to share. These including some rezoning and discretionary use items. Furthermore, there are a few winter days in the park planned by your local Community Associations! Don't forget to check these wonderful events out and to thank the volunteers that make this happen.
In regards to City Council updates, these include what's happening with the Downtown Event and Entertainment District and associated District Plan, delineating boundaries for the Northeast and Small Swale and an update on the Home Energy Loan Program (HELP).
Ward 8 Updates
Green bin rollout
The City of Saskatoon is moving to a city-wide green cart program in the spring of 2023 and ending the green cart subscription program. Every household with black and blue carts will be part of the program. Green carts and kitchen pails will be delivered to residents in March and April with year-round biweekly collection beginning in May.
Residents who use large communal garbage and recycling bins (typically those living in condos and apartments) are not affected by these changes. A program is being developed by the City for these residents. Learn more about the program by visiting saskatoon.ca/greencart.
Applications are now being accepted for the assisted waste collections program. Service will be provided to approved applicants in early 2023.
Finally, information will soon be available regarding the waste subsidy for low-income households.
Discretionary Use Proposal: 169 Acadia Court
A Discretionary Use application requesting approval to develop a Short-term Rental Property at 169 Acadia Court in the College Park neighbourhood has been submitted. Learn more about this application here.
Rezoning Proposal: Brighton Ranch Stage 3
An application proposing to rezone select blocks within Brighton to accommodate the next phase of development has been received. Learn more about this application here.
It has been a pleasure to join in more community events this month in my role as Deputy Mayor.
Congratulations to the People Bridge Advocacy on their official launch.
Saskatoon & District Labour Council AGM
City Council Meetings
Downtown District Plan & Technical Advisor
A Technical Advisor has been selected to assist the City in developing the conceptual design for the new arena/event centre, a new or expanded convention centre, a new parking facility and associated infrastructure requirements. The Advisor will also support the District Plan for Downtown Saskatoon.
At the Governance and Priorities Committee meeting this month, draft principles were shared for the District Plan. This Plan will guide public realm design for streets, plazas and other public spaces. It will develop a complementary land use plan for surrounding properties, a plan for transportation network components and facilities, a plan for any required underground and surface utilities/upgrades, as well as any recommendations related to components which may impact, or be impacted by, funding, legislation or policy.
The draft Vision and Guiding Principles can be found here. The accompanying report is also available here, with a timeline of events found here. A final version of these principles will be back to Committee in March.
Project details continued to be updated on the dedicated website: saskatoon.ca/entertainmentdistrict.
Northeast and Small Swale Boundaries
The Northeast Swale and Small Swale are ecologically significant grassland and wetland complexes within the city.
In response to community concerns, the Standing Policy Committee and Planning, Development and Community Services (SPC PDCS) started a process of delineating preliminary boundaries of these natural areas ahead of development of the concept plan for a neighbourhood, called UH3, which is slated for development in the Northeast. Significant work was put in place, through the Northeast Swale Working Group, to collect and update data on these areas to inform boundary recommendations.
More information about the process to date can be found in the report. Administration proposed three options for consideration. The proposal from the Swale Watchers can also be found in the report link.
The SPC PDCS had a lengthy discussion with presentations from multiple stakeholders and put forward an option for protection to the City Council meeting. Option 3 is being recommended, which is based off recommendations from Meewasin. This includes Meewasin's expertise on the ground and the recommendations of a consultant in a natural areas screening report.
There has been significant work done by community members, the City of Saskatoon, Meewasin and many others. I would like to acknowledge all this work, as the process of delineating boundaries ahead of a Concept Plan has not been done before. This atypical process demonstrates the uniqueness of this area, the recognition of the ecological value of this area, and provides greater assurances on the protection for the Swales as plans for development get underway.
Home Energy Loan Update
The Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) was launched on September 1, 2021 and was expanded with FCM loan and grant funding in 2022. As of January 5, 2023, at least 257 applicants are expected to participate in HELP.
The most popular upgrades within the program are as follows:
Additional project enhancements are planned to launch this year:
As the program is fully allocated, the application intake will be paused until additional loan funding becomes available. For those applicants currently in the program or on the waitlist, the HELP bylaw is being updated based on lessons learned in the first year of operations. Find more information here.
This program has been successful in reducing utility costs for resident, lessening the financial burden for homeowners, lowering annual greenhouse gas emissions, all the while providing more jobs in the home and retrofit industry. Economic benefits of the program have been captured by SREDA.
A separate report will be presented to Committee later this year and will include long term funding requirements and staffing needs to sustain the program after the loan funds from both the City and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities is used up.
It was shared just this month that the City’s Greenhouse facility has experienced escalating structural concerns due to its age and unique design and will soon need to be vacated for the safety of staff. In September 2022, an engineering assessment indicated increasing issues with the Greenhouse structure from the previous year and recommended that it be vacated.
No decisions about the long-term future of the Greenhouse have been decided yet. Later this year, City Administration will bring a report back to City Council outlining longer-term recommendations for the future of the Greenhouse program.
In the short-term, the City has secured a suitable private sector contractor to provide seasonal plants for the 2023 season. The City wants everyone to know that bright and beautiful flowers will continue to be planted citywide by Parks staff every year.
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