City Council Highlights
Below are some of the highlights from the September and October Council and Committee meetings. The full reports can be found at saskatoon.ca/meeting.
Renaming John A. Macdonald Road
City Council has adopted a framework that will help guide the response for City of Saskatoon facilities and services. An overall framework will help guide the response better than making a series of individual decisions when needed.
Special Council Meeting – Private Gathering Size Limit Request
As a result of the implementation of Council’s framework from September 27th, City Council held a Special Council Meeting on September 29th and unanimously passed a motion to write a letter to the province requesting a restriction on gathering sizes in Saskatoon where there is not a proof of vaccination or negative test requirement.
We’ve heard from the Premier, medical health officers, and others about our current COVID-19 situation. We are dealing with one of the most challenging situations in the country. I want to know we are doing everything we can to keep people safe, help our healthcare system, and allow businesses to safely operate and not have to face a shut down. It was my hope this would help us get to lower cases, lower ICU admissions, and a healthcare system that can continue to provide care for the community. Unfortunately, we received a response that this request was denied.
Emergency Snow Response Plan
Following the extreme snowfall we had last November, a number of decisions had to be made in quick order to get the city moving again as safely and as fast as possible. It was clear that there were lessons that could be learnt from that experience for the future. There was no framework or response plan in place at that time.
This plan will see extra staffing and contractor resources activated to restore mobility in the city after a blizzard with snow accumulations of at least 25 centimetres and mobility reduced to the point light vehicles cannot drive on city streets. A formalized approach will allow for a much more efficient response to get our city moving again safely in the event we do see extreme snowfall in the future.
Residential Speed Limit Review
As a result of votes from the Transportation Committee and City Council, there will be no change to speed limits on residential and collector streets. Speed limits will stay as they are, but a review of school zones, and playground zones will come before committee and council in the coming months.
Although there are no changes of speed being implemented at this time on residential and collector streets, City Council resolved to get a report back with more information on a Speedwatch program which could potentially assist in supporting greater compliance with speed limits in residential areas.
Healthcare Appreciation Week
City Council passed a resolution making November 1st – November 8th Healthcare Appreciation Week. This week recognizes all the hard work of our health care workers in protecting the health and safety of our community. During this week, health care workers can use City leisure facilities at 40% off the regular posted rate. We are also inviting the community to participate in making a community card to show our support! Find more details about how you can participate here.
Special Council Meeting – Private Gathering Size Bylaw
City Council withdrew the proposed bylaw regarding gathering restrictions after receiving direction earlier this week from the Minister of Government Relations that the Government would not support this bylaw.
City Council’s exploration of this proposed bylaw was based on a very clear request from Medical Health Officers that the City try to do something in the face of the crisis in our health care system.
As Mayor and Council, we have said we will do everything we can to support the health care system and protect lives and livelihoods. This is what we were attempting to explore and we have now reached the limit in what we are permitted to do.
You can view the full statement on Facebook here.
Waste Utility Phase-In and Affordability
Based on the decision made by council, residents of Saskatoon will be able to better control the cost and amount of their waste through variable rates. Initially, the new curbside organics program will start at a flat monthly rate when it is introduced in January of 2023. In 2024, both the curbside organics program and curbside garbage program will be funded through a variable utility rate. This will result in a lowering of the 2024 mill rate and will reduce the cost of property taxes for residents.
In the long run for the city, the utility model is the best way to reduce the long term risks to the landfill as well as better incentivize and give residents a choice on how they can reduce their environmental and financial impact. This is done through potential factors like the use of different bin sizes and collection frequency, which will be further explored. Additionally, the Administration will explore affordability options for qualified low income households.
Traffic Bylaw Amendments
A number of traffic amendments have been approved. Most of them are changes in speed limits to be more suitable for their areas. This includes a reduction of the posted limit on two sections of Spadina Crescent and an increase for Highway 41 from College Drive to the East City Limit. These changes should bring more consistency, safety, and predictability for drivers using these roads.
Other changes have been made to The Traffic Bylaw to modernize, create more consistency, and adapt language. This language will also be applied in some changes and modernizations to the Disabled Parking Zones policy.
Continued funding for a 4 year term for SREDA has been granted.
A new Child Care Centre was approved for up to 12 spaces in the Evergreen neighbourhood.
Council formalized appointments to the various committees and also made the appointment schedule of Deputy Mayor for the calendar year 2022.
City Council approved a change to the Animal Control Bylaw to allow pets on leashes in Kiwanis Park.
A pilot project with the City of Martensville to support their Traffic Signal Infrastructure has been extended. This is another great example of our regional partnerships in action, which will help our entire region as we continue to grow now and in the future.
A Discretionary Use Application was conditionally approved to allow the operation of a Child Care Centre with a maximum of 20 children at a time in the Kelsey-Woodlawn area.