City Council Highlights

Below are some of the highlights from the January 2024 Council and Committee meetings. The full reports can be found at saskatoon.ca/meeting.

Downtown Event and Entertainment District – Private Partner Procurement Approach

City Council approved the process for procuring a private partner for the Downtown Event and Entertainment District.

The framework will apply to individual (arena and conference centre separately) or full elements of the district. The Requests for Proposals from potential partners will be evaluated on both financial and community benefit outcomes.

There is the potential for a private partner to make a signficant contribution to the costs of building this district.  There are a number of recent examples in other cities that have seen big investments.  For example, Hamilton Ontario is receiving a $280Million investment from OakView Group for the redevelopment of their downtown arena.  Baltimore is seeing a $250M (USD) commitment and Austin Texas a $375M (USD) investment. These are all cities that don’t have NHL or NBA teams. 

The goal is to create a district that is going to be successful on a financial front and does not draw on costs of future city councils.

We also want this project to be a gathering place for the community. For this project to meet its potential, we also want to make sure there are maximum community benefits including powwows, cultural gatherings, and other community events that aren’t just about maximizing revenue.

The approval of this approach does not mandate the partner to provide a living wage to staff. There will however, be considerations and conversations with proponents on their commitments to potential staff.

The Tree Protection Bylaw, 2024 and Trees on City Property Policy

A new Tree Protection Bylaw was approved to better protect City trees and trees located on City property. The former Trees on City Property Policy did not provide sufficient mechanisms to protect trees on City property, including a lack of enforcement mechanisms.

Major landscaping work or construction within six metres of City trees will require a permit similar to building a deck or house. These permits will be issued at no cost and are intended to ensure there will be no inadvertent damage to trees.

The urban forest is one of the defining characteristics of many neighbourhoods in Saskatoon and also provides essential shade in the summer and other natural benefits. Our urban canopy and forest is a valuable asset that we need to protect. This bylaw is an important step to create greater certainty and clarity for everyone to ensure the right steps are taken to preserve our urban forest.

Read more information on the new Bylaw.

Portion of Lane Closure -1900 Block 20th Street West and 200 Block Avenue S South – Urgent Care Centre

A portion of the back lane will be closed around the current Pleasant Hill School site. This is to consolidate land parcels for future development in addition to accommodating the future Urgent Care Centre which is to be owned by Ahtahkakoop Cree Developments and operated by the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

A dead-end situation will not be created and the closure will not eliminate access to adjacent parcels of land.

In addition to the Urgent Care Centre, Ahtahkakoop is now also planning to have additional developments on these sites. Initial plans have changed and the current Pleasant Hill School will not be demolished. Instead it will be utilized for their larger vision of the site and future developments.

And more…

Land acquisition was approved for New Fire Hall Station No. 11 at 2502 Dawes Avenue. The future Fire Hall is expected to open in 2027 and will help serve some of the west side neighbourhoods along with Fire Hall 2 as the city continues to grow.

Long Term Organics Processing Options –

With the original proponent unable to carry out their obligations, Administration is analyzing long term options. This includes a potential City-owned processing facility, a hybrid model, or a 3rd party model. A federal application was made which could cover up to 50% of costs for a City-owned facility should Council ultimately decide on that option. In the interim, Green Cart Collections are now being taken to Loraas’ organics  facility north of Saskatoon.

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