Mayor Charlie Clark was in Ottawa yesterday for the first meeting of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities – Western Economic Solutions Task Force (WEST). While there, he also participated in a roundtable meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and municipal leaders from across the country.
If you spent some time this summer driving or biking through City Park or Riversdale, you probably hit some roadblocks and detours. Block after block of roadway was closed so that the streets, sidewalks, and water mains could be reconstructed. Another improvement made during this time was that the hundred-year-old lead water lines from the water main to people’s houses were being replaced.
This is a moment when our citizens are looking to us as leaders to sit down and problem solve, to have honest and direct discussions to find answers to the tough issues we face. This is what I try to do in my role as Mayor every day and we need to do as a country right now.
The City has a tremendous amount of purchasing power within the community. This gives us tremendous potential to do things differently and have a positive effect. Each year the City spends millions of dollars on different purchases—construction projects, water main replacements, and facility repairs, to name just a few—and this is something that we can leverage beyond infrastructure improvements to have other benefits as well. I believe the City of Saskatoon has a responsibility to make sure that the investments we are making in the city are best serving the community as a whole.
City Council commissioned a study to look at the costs and benefits minimizing or even removing train delays in Saskatoon through underpasses, overpasses, and relocating the rail lines out of the city. There are a number of different issues regarding the rail study that make it somewhat confusing.
While I think there is broad agreement that there would be many benefits to getting trains out of the City—from safety, to travel times, to new opportunities for redevelopment—the bottom line from the study is that there are very large hurdles to either relocating or building overpasses and underpasses.