Keep in the loop with all things Ward 8.
November is always a busy month in City Council Chambers. This newsletter provides an update on agenda items coming to City Council this week and how to find information about budget deliberations taking place from November 28 - 30, 2023. Topics of interest include zoning changes tied to the Housing Accelerator Fund and a rezoning request in regards to the Provincial approach to homelessness.
Ward specific updates includes some information about waste collection and our 2023 construction recap.
I also want to note that this month I had the privilege of representing the City of Saskatoon at the Canadian Urban Transit Associations (CUTA)'s annual conference. This included the opportunity to highlight work that the City of Saskatoon and Saskatoon Transit are doing in response to the Calls to Action, Calls to Justice and UNDRIP. It was very fitting that just as this conference on transit wrapped up, the City of Saskatoon, Province of Saskatchewan and Government of Canada announced significant investment in transit/Bus Rapid Transit and a new east side leisure centre. Find more details about this exciting news here.
Ward 8 Updates
Budget (November 28 - 30, 2023)
As part of the City’s Multi -Year Business Plan and Budget Process, the City produces three key documents to inform City Council and the public prior to its November budget deliberations:
These documents are all now available, along with additional background information at saskatoon.ca/budget.
Furthermore, on Wednesday, November 22 at approximately 4:00pm, the budget agenda will be released. This will contain additional background reports requested through Special Budget Meetings and the updated starting point for the 2024 and 2025 property tax. This will not be the final property tax figure. That number will be determined at the end of budget deliberations.
As previously outlined in this comprehensive budget update, there are still many line items that have yet to be discussed.
If you have any questions about the deliberations so far or items contained in the budget documents please do not hesitate to reach out to me. Furthermore, you can submit a letter and/or request to speak directly to City Council Budget Deliberations. Please note the cut off to make this request is Monday, November 27, 2023, at 5:00 pm.
Changes to Collections Calendar in 2024
As Saskatoon grows, the City is always looking to improve services and, as such, many residents may need to learn a new waste schedule in the new year. Since 2013, only minor changes have been made to the collections calendar.
The new curbside collections routes will be in effect the first week of January 2024. Households with curbside collections have green, blue and black roll-out carts that are collected bi-weekly from the front street or back lane. Residents should check their calendars to make sure they know their new pick-up dates. The 2024 calendar is now available online and the City will also be mailing information about the changes to residents by early December.
Due to these changes, some neighbourhoods will experience longer periods between collections for certain carts at the beginning of January. The City would like to thank residents in advance for their patience as it makes these necessary improvements.
To see your new collection schedule or to set collection reminders, visit saskatoon.ca/collectioncalendar or download the Saskatoon Waste Wizard app.
These major changes taking place in 2024 aim to reduce fuel consumption and create efficiencies to keep costs lower and cut greenhouses gas emissions.
Construction Update for 2023
Installing new water mains Downtown and extending the lifespan of the Circle Drive North Bridge were just some of the major priorities for the City of Saskatoon during the 2023 construction season. Overall, more than 200 lane kilometers of roadways were improved, which, when put into perspective, is the approximate driving distance between Saskatoon and Kindersley.
City Council invested approximately $67.19 million in 2023 for road construction and maintenance including initiatives like pothole patching, line marking and street sweeping. High traffic roads resurfaced include:
Since 2014, when the City began investing millions of dollars more into roads, more than 2,100 lane kilometers of roadway have been rehabilitated, which is the approximate driving distance between Saskatoon and Chicago, Illinois. This can be shown in the illustration found below.
Green Cart Update
It was incredibly frustrating to hear that the company hired to process the green cart material defaulted on their contract. Despite this, I want to assure residents the green cart organics collection will continue with no disruptions to neighbours. The City will continue to divert organics away from the landfill to make a beneficial use product and reduce greenhouse gases from waste. To date, more than 15,000 tonnes of organic waste have successfully been diverted from the landfill since collections began in May.
In the short-term, Loraas will continue to assist the City in processing organics materials while City officials explore cost reduction options by processing the organics in-house.
A report to the November 1 meeting of the Environment, Utilities and Corporate Services Committee (EU&CS) contains details that outline short-term options for processing organics following Green Prairie Environmental's default of its organics processing contract.
A report with long-term options will be presented to EU&CS by Q1 2024.
City Council Meetings
Housing Accelerator Fund
In late September 2023, the office of Minister Fraser, the Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities for the Government of Canada, contacted the Mayor’s Office regarding the City of Saskatoon’s application to the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF). Several discussions have occurred since that time. On October 16, 2023, the Mayor’s Office received a letter from Minister Fraser requesting a number of additions to the City’s application in order to be considered for funding.
The report before Council is intended to provide information in relation to the additions being suggested by Minister Fraser, including the impacts and processes for each addition. The four requests for addition are:
The report from Administration, which provides comment and suggestions on a path forward for each option, can be found here.
For discussion purposes, the four new actions are being considered as additions to the 13 initiatives already submitted as a part of our Housing Action Plan. The approval of the City’s application for the HAF is expected to be contingent on pursuing these actions, as seen in requests to all other municipalities with approvals to date.
Provincial Approach to Homelessness - Application for Emergency Residential Shelter – 1701 Idylwyld Drive North
The Province of Saskatchewan on October 6, 2023, announced a comprehensive strategy to combat homelessness, including the addition of 120 new permanent emergency shelter spaces. Additionally, the Province will create two complex needs emergency shelters, one in Regina and one in Saskatoon, that will provide a secure and medically supervised place to go, for up to 24 hours.
An application was received from the Province of Saskatchewan to establish an Emergency Residential Shelter at 1701 Idylwyld Drive North. The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety will partner with a third-party service provider to deliver and facilitate the health supports and security of this facility.
While Emergency Residential Shelters are currently a permitted use under The Zoning Bylaw, City Council consideration of the time frame for operation of this application, for a temporary use up to 18 months, is required.
The full report and application can be found here.
Municipal Wards Commission - Establishment of Municipal Ward Boundaries
An information report is being presented to City Council on the future iteration of the municipal ward boundaries. I will note that there are NO changes to Ward 8 in these upcoming changes.
Early planning for Saskatoon’s 2024 Municipal/School Boards elections continues. One of the first planning steps is to review the boundaries of the city’s ten current wards to ensure they all have similar population numbers, in accordance with The Cities Act. Ward boundary reviews must be completed no less than 180 days prior to a general municipal election.
Public engagement was conducted in two phases. In the first phase, residents were asked to provide feedback on three presented options for ward boundary changes. Based on feedback received in phase one (summer 2023), two revised ward boundary options were then presented in phase two (fall 2023) for public feedback.
The new ward boundaries incorporate the following changes from the existing ward boundaries:
Veteran Parking Pilot Program
The Veteran Parking Program was established to provide recognition of the service local veterans provided to the country.
A pilot program was conducted to enhance the parking program. Based on feedback and the measuring of these changes, they are now being recommended to be made permanent.
The full report can be found here.
Additional reports of interest
Presenting at the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) Annual Conference to fellow board members
Showcasing the City of Saskatoon Reconciliation Visual Identity in City Council Chambers
Attending the 8th St Corridor Open House
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