City Council Highlights
Below are some of the highlights from the January Council and Committee meetings. The full reports can be found at saskatoon.ca/meeting.
Carbon Monoxide Alarm Requirements
50 people die each year in Canada from Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Following a recent averted disaster here in Saskatoon, it is clear that it’s necessary to learn from this and take action now. Currently, buildings that have been built before 2009 do not require a Carbon Monoxide alarm.
This is a clear public safety issue and the City and the Province should be looking at what can be done to improve the safety and well-being of citizens. Saskatoon City Council has directed the City Administration to report on the current approach on Carbon Monoxide Alarms in Saskatoon and what options are available to require Carbon Monoxide detectors in buildings that are older than 2009. I am encouraged by all Councillors in taking quick action on this.
Sustainability of Saskatoon Curling Organizations
I have heard from our local curling organizations over the past few years about the challenges they are facing with the growing costs of running their facilities. Curling has a storied history within our City and provides an important community and recreational activity that brings people of all ages and abilities together for a fun and inclusive sport.
Following the direction of City Council, City Administration will be meeting with Saskatoon curling organizations to discuss potential policy options so that we can help ensure the long term financial and operational sustainability of these organizations.
Curling Clubs, which operate as non-profit entities, are facing obstacles including changes in tax assessments and evaluations of their buildings that restrict the types of activities they are allowed to have in their building to generate revenue and offset costs. We want to make sure this sport is accessible, so I am hopeful that we can fully understand what is happening with our curling organizations and I am encouraged that the City will be engaging in discussions to help keep this important sport in Saskatoon.
Conversion Therapy Business Ban Bylaw
Conversion Therapy is a coercive, non-voluntary practice that has created significant harm for many people living in our community and in our country. It’s important to create a city that is as safe as possible for everyone. That means the practice of Conversion Therapy has no place in our community. This proposed bylaw continues to make progress as City Council directed the City Solicitor to amend the drafted bylaw and bring it back to Council for consideration.
Although this is a matter that is also in the process of being addressed at the national level, we have no indication of when or if that Bill may be re-introduced to the House of Commons. Similar bylaws have been put in place by other municipalities and it is time for Saskatoon to do so as well.
The more this has come before Committees and Council, the more we have heard from various citizens and organizations. One of the main concerns is that people don’t want to lose their ability to seek counselling from someone who shares similar beliefs and values. The proposed bylaw would not prevent counselling or restrict freedom of speech, its intention is to prevent the potentially traumatizing and abusive practice of Conversion Therapy in our city. Passing this bylaw would recognize the harmful practices that have taken place in Saskatoon and will no longer be allowed.
City Council also passed changes to the affordable housing incentives program so that projects that have some affordable units and some market housing units can also get incentives.
City Council received a comprehensive report outlining progress on waste diversion, including recycling, organics diversion, and the development of Recovery Park at the landfill. The report also outlined a series of future options that Council will have a chance to consider to help achieve the goal of achieving 70% diversion of waste.