Year in Review
Below are highlights from the 2022 Year in Review Pt. 4: Community Safety & Wellbeing and Services for Residents.
Community Safety & Wellbeing
STC Wellness Centre
In December of 2021, the City of Saskatoon began a lease with the Saskatoon Tribal Council to operate the Emergency Wellness Centre on 1st Ave N to help support the unhoused population through the cold Saskatoon winter. The initial lease was set to expire in April of 2022. It received a one-year extension and modest expansion in beds to continue to serve the growing need. This facility was operated until December of 2022 when the STC was able to secure a permanent space in Fairhaven.
Rapid Housing Initiative
CUMFI and Cress Housing
Ground broke on two affordable, supportive housing units as part of the Rapid Housing Initiative. These two projects, operated by CUMFI and Saskatoon Tribal Council’s Cress Housing, created 32 units of targeted supported living for those at risk of or experiencing homelessness.
The Rapid Housing Initiative is a partnering program with the federal government to provide housing solutions to help communities with homelessness. In November, the Government of Canada, through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, announced another allocation of the Rapid Housing Initiative which includes Saskatoon. Projects are expected to be identified in Spring of 2023.
Alternative Response Officers
The ARO program was introduced as a pilot program of foot patrols in the downtown and Riversdale area. They provide a public presence and emphasize relationship-building in their response to calls not necessarily criminal in nature. There has been a rise in social disorder calls, particularly in the Downtown and Riversdale Business Improvement Districts. City Council approved 6 FTE positions for Saskatoon Police to formalize the ARO program on a permanent basis through the most recent budget.
Extreme Cold Weather Strategy
The City of Saskatoon, through the Emergency Management Operations (EMO), has taken the lead in the Extreme Cold Weather Strategy. EMO is providing coordination between service providers, activation plans, and reporting. After deactivation, they review what worked well and what gaps still need to be addressed to help keep vulnerable residents safe and connected to services.
Relocating Fire Station 5
Fire Station No. 5 is being relocated from Sutherland on Central Avenue to Preston Avenue on the northside of 108th St. The relocation of the Fire Station will reduce Station overlap and help to improve travel and response times as the city continues to grow. It will also include shared cultural space for the Saskatoon Fire Department, U of S, and community groups. With the previous relocation of Fire Station No. 3 and now, No 5, an additional fire station won’t be necessary, saving $3 Million each year in operating costs.
Following the High Performance Civic Building Policy, the fire station will be constructed to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification with some energy efficiency targets beyond LEED. Construction began in April of 2022 and is scheduled to be complete in June 2023 for operations to begin at the new location in July 2023. Construction began in April of 2022 and is scheduled to be complete in June 2023 for operations to begin at the new location in July 2023.
Services for Residents
Expanding online services
Additional services were offered online for residents to help improve turnaround times and ease of access for residents. The City has been expanding on business licenses with e-permitting for buildings for anything from decks, houses, and complex commercial projects. There is now a more standardized and coordinated approach that helps reduce trips and calls to City Hall. This move is helping get the City closer to its goal of having the fastest turnaround times in the country.
Support for SPCA
Additional money in 2022 was allocated to support the continued operations for Pound Services in the city. This interim contract was given to SPCA to continue this service until the Request for Proposals in 2023 will be opened for organizations who may wish to provide the services into the future.
Veteran Parking Plate Program Pilot
The City is undertaking a Pilot program that will expand Veteran Parking to all veterans with veteran parking plates. Previously, veterans would have to register for a pass with the city. Under this pilot project, any veteran with Saskatchewan Veterans plates will be allowed to park in paid parking zones for the length of the posted time. The pilot began in November of 2022 and will run for 15 months.
SmartUTIL was introduced in January of 2022, allowing residential and commercial utility customers to better monitor their utility usage. Customers can view their consumption trends down to the hour, set alerts to help avoid going over a budgeted water or electricity usage, and better plan how to be more efficient to save energy and money.
Residents can learn more and access SmartUtil through utility account at saskatoon.ca/smartutil