2021: A Year in Review
As we begin 2022 it is important to take stock of progress made in 2021. It was a challenging year in many ways, yet City Council, City Staff, and community partners were also busy on many important city-building projects that improve our community and tackle key challenges we face.
Here is an overview of some of the key highlights. A big thank you to everyone who worked so hard to bring these to life.
Take it Outside fund
The Take It Outside fund was developed as a means to showcase what Saskatoon has to offer as a winter city. It demonstrated that we don’t have to just survive the winter months, but we can actually enjoy them with many activities running in the City all year long. See article >
Largest snow removal effort in Saskatoon’s history
Following one of the heaviest snow falls in Saskatoon’s history, the largest clean up effort was undertaken. To get the City moving safely once again, residential streets were graded and cleaned after 36 cm of snow fell. In reviewing the operations, plans were developed for future response to extreme snow events such as this.. See article >
Lip syncing for vaccination
In an effort to encourage vaccinations in our Cities and Province, Regina’s Mayor Sandra Masters and I had two lip-sync challenges in our communities to see which city could get more of their residents vaccinated. Mayor Masters did a phenomenal job with her full production show, I had some fun on the Prairie Lily with a much more low budget affair, either way both were fun! See article >
Supporting vaccination programs for hard to reach
SHA with multiple partners including the City of Saskatoon ran various pop-up clinics for those harder to reach in our community to help protect against COVID-19.
Ongoing adaptation of services to keep community safe
The City of Saskatoon implemented a framework implementing different measures of control in response to the COVID situation as it changes to keep residents as safe as possible. See article >
Fred Saskamoose Statue
To commemorate the life of Fred who inspired many and gave so much to our community, a statue will be placed alongside another local hockey great, Gordie Howe, in front of Sasktel Center. In addition, May 18 has been declared Fred Sasakamoose day in Saskatoon and Saskatchewan. This was done with the support of the Dakota Dunes Community Development Corporation, Battleford Agency Tribal Chiefs and Synergy 8 Community Builders. See article >
Saskatoon’s largest solar farm was approved and funded. This initiative will help to generate electricity for 300 homes and save 700,000 annually. See article >
Launch of HELP
The Home Energy Loan Program was launched and was a massive success filling almost immediately. This low interest loan can be repaid over time on property tax bills, will allow homeowners to make renovations that turn their home into a greener, more efficient, and cost effective place to live. The City is working to gain more federal funding to expand this program to more households in 2022! See article >
New policy ensuring high performing city buildings
A new High Performance Civic Buildings Policy was implemented requiring new civic buildings and those undergoing major renovations or additions to be more energy efficient, meeting a LEED silver status. This will help reduce our emissions footprint, while also providing cost savings over time. See article >
Implementation of traffic calming
More than 150 traffic calming projects were implemented in 39 neighbourhoods in the past year. These projects were identified as part of the Neighbourhood Traffic Reviews and include curb extensions, median islands, and others. See article >
Curb cuts continued to be installed in neighbourhoods around the City to increase the accessibility of our sidewalk infrastructure for all to use.
Playground speed zones
City Council voted to implement playground speed zones in Saskatoon, remove high school speed zones, and expand the hours of elementary school speed zones from 7am to 7pm. This will add an added layer of protection where it’s needed, requiring drivers to slow down where children may be present at play, year-round. See article >
Continued park upgrades
We have continued to make parks more accessible for all residents to enjoy. Construction was also completed for the dry pond at WW Ashley Park to help prevent future flooding damage in the area. An additional 8 dry ponds are planned in areas prone to flood damage. See article >
Street, sidewalk and neighbourhood upgrades
Many construction projects were completed in 2021 including the rehabilitation of the Circle Drive Overpass at 8th St, 207 km of road resurfacing, 28 km of sidewalks, and 503 water main connections. See article >
Farmers Market Building
In the 2022/2023 budgeting process, the Farmers Market Building was approved for capital funding to make repairs and upgrades as a new tenant plans to animate the space 6 days a week.
New programs and partnerships to address homelessness, addictions, community safety and wellbeing
This pilot project was extended with funding from the City and the Province. This outreach is helping the vulnerable population in our community find resources that help improve lives. See article >
Street, sidewalk and neighbourhood upgrades
The CUMFI Elders lodge was opened with 26 affordable and accessible units for Métis elders in the Pleasant Hill neighbourhood. See article >
Rapid Housing Initiative – 36 new units of supportive housing for the homeless
We received Federal funding for badly needed supportive housing units in our city. While many more supportive housing units are needed, this is a step in the right direction. See article >
With shelters running over capacity, Saskatoon Tribal Council stepped forward to provide a temporary wellness centre and provide outreach through their Saweyihtotan project. This project is supported by the City of Saskatoon by supplying the building and donations in kind. See article >
Introduction of Alternate Response Officers and PACT team expansion
5 Special Constable Alternate Response Officers were introduced to Saskatoon mainly in the Downtown and Riversdale area, providing outreach support and helping with other patrol groups. See article >
The Police and Crisis Team, (PACT) comprised of police officers and mental health workers who assist those experiencing mental health crises, was expanded this past year to better address the demand of response calls in the city. See article >
Meewasin Trail improvements
The Meewasin Valley Authority completed a number of trail improvements Downtown, in the Southwest, and River Heights, including additional lighting, stairs in River Heights, traffic controls, and widening of some paths. See article >
Opening of Nutrien Tower and Kay Nasser Plaza
After many years of work, Nutrien Tower and Kay Nasser Plaza opened at River Landing. Nutrien Tower is the tallest building in the province, with the Plaza named after Kay Nasser, who founded Victory Majors, the company which led the River Landing Parcel Y development. See article >
Downtown Festival site
A permanent outdoor festival site was approved by council. This will provide a long-term location that is usable for small to midsize festivals including permanent infrastructure for vendors, public washrooms, and capacity up to 7500. See article >
Downtown Entertainment District
As Saskatoon continues to move towards a Downtown Entertainment District the City approved a governance model for the development of the District and continued the discussions and negotiations on potential locations. Possible sites are expected in early 2022.
Following the 2020 pilot program, the parking patio program was extended for 2021 and 2022, which will allow more restaurants and businesses to operate patios.
First ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
In response to the TRC Calls to Action, the City of Saskatoon participated with many partners across the country in recognizing the First National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. See article >
Implementation of policies to address systemic racism
The 2022/2023 budget deliberations saw investments to better identify and address matters of systemic racism and discrimination within the corporation. A number of new positions and policies have also been funded in the area of Reconciliation, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, so that as the City continues to become more diverse, our corporation is able to support and reflect this.
New Strategic Plan
With the new Council elected at the end of 2020, 2021 saw the development of a new strategic plan for 2022-2025 with priority areas for each Councillor. This plan will help guide the future planning and work of the City as we move forward.