City Council Highlights
Below are some of the highlights from the November 16 Special Council Meeting and October Council and Committee meetings. The full reports can be found at saskatoon.ca/meeting.
Downtown Event and Entertainment District Site Selection
City Council held a meeting to determine the site selection for the future Downtown Event and Entertainment District. Council voted unanimously to approve the North Midtown lot for the site for the future downtown arena, following City Council direction from 2018 to locate the next arena downtown.
Choosing a site is the first pivotal step in shaping the future of our downtown for many decades to come.
As we continue to grow and become a more global city, we want the residents in our city and our province to be able to experience world-class events in the heart of a thriving downtown. It will be a gathering place that can bring our diverse community together and drive economic investment, all part of creating a strong future for the children growing up today.
The site selection now allows City staff to begin working on conceptual designs and district master planning to help establish preliminary capital cost estimates. A key goal for the project is to build a funding plan that has little or no impact on property taxes. The City will also seek community input on desired district amenities in the coming months.
City council has also directed that this project be designed through the lens of Indigenous Place making and pursue net-zero energy performance. I believe that both of these principles are important for ensuring this facility is built for the future and ultimately to bring the whole community together.
2023 City Council and Committee Meeting Schedule
Council passed some major changes to the way that Committee and City Council meetings will be held in 2023. Meetings will be moved away from the traditional Monday date to the first Tuesday and Wednesday of the month for Committee meetings and Wednesdays for Governance and Priority meetings as well as City Council meetings.
The start time for Regular Business Council meetings will shift from 1pm to 9:30am. Public Hearing will remain a 6:00pm start time so that they are accessible to members of the public outside of business hours.
Meeting schedules are set every year and if changes are needed for 2024, they can be made.
Pathway to a Sustainable Urban Forest: Implementation of the Urban Forest Management Plan 2022-2031
We know how crucial our urban forest and tree canopy is. This plan will allow for a robust plan to manage the City’s urban forest through predictable, streamlined, and clear rules and regulations. Partnerships will be maintained and relied upon to carry out initiatives that will help retain the urban forest and also lay out how to fill some gaps that are currently existing. We will also look at ways to add more trees in newer areas of the city, in part by leveraging funds from different orders of government.
Arbutus properties development proposal
City Council denied an application from Arbutus properties to remove a holding symbol on a parcel of land in Rosewood to proceed with development.
As Mayor I want to see successful developments move forward in both Rosewood and with the Downtown Pitchfork grocery store. The City has worked hard to facilitate solutions and problem solve with Arbutus Properties.
As of the October City Council meeting, Arbutus Properties owed the City of Saskatoon more than $2.5 million in overdue payments, and also wanted the City to approve development proceeding on a parcel of land that doesn’t have servicing completed. This puts the City at further risk. Arbutus Properties has asked for a different set of rules than what every other developer has followed and City Council wasn’t prepared to do that, given the outstanding payments and risk.
Saskatoon North Partnership for Growth (P4G) District North Concept Plan Bylaw
This is a historic day for planning in our region. Saskatoon and the surrounding communities north of the city make up the fastest growing region in the entire province. It’s important that we work with our partners in developing sustainable growth. This plan will help guide land use, transportation, servicing, future infrastructure, and an implementation plan.
The specific area described in the concept plan is located in the RM of Corman Park to the north of Saskatoon and south of Warman and Martensville. This is a key area for rural and urban growth areas that has the potential to be transitioned into urban development as the region continues to experience rapid growth.
Major funding to refresh Harry Bailey Pool and Albert Community
Two prominent Saskatoon buildings have received $10 Million in funding from the Federal Government to help renovate and modernize the Harry Bailey Aquatic Centre and the Albert Community Centre.
Harry Bailey will benefit from a new 50 metre tank pool basin that will allow for higher competition standards, roof renewal and window replacement, upgrades to the heating system, increased accessibility, and modernized changerooms.
This funding will allow renovations to go far beyond the original scope and will help ensure these buildings serve the community for decades to come.
Sign guidelines for our tourist destinations
Council approved a set of guidelines that will help visitors navigate their way to prominent locations and important services in Saskatoon. This initiative will help reduce sign clutter and put in clear guidelines for thresholds that need to be met in order for a tourist attraction, parks, and services to warrant signage.
The business case and funding will still need to be developed and approved to implement this program.
- An application to designate the Tees and Persse building as a heritage building was approved meaning that it is protected from demolition or unsympathetic alterations and key character defining elements will be maintained to retain the heritage value of the property.