Hello Ward 7 Residents,
I hope everyone is doing well and staying comfortable. The latest statistics on infection rates in Saskatchewan are encouraging – thanks for making sacrifices in order to keep the community safe! This is truly a collective effort, and one that we need to maintain. Below are some updates on city and COVID-19 related changes to City operations. To find the latest information about city services during this time, please visit this page.
I know many residents are wondering about the impacts of COVID-19 on the City’s budget and operations, now and into future months. At our most recent Council meeting we learned that a comprehensive fiscal update will be presented in public at the regular meeting of City Council on April 27th, and if you’re interested you can watch that meeting here. If you have questions or comments about this, please let me know and I will get you detailed information as soon as I am able.
Garbage Collection and Green Carts
Garbage collection has been in the news a couple of times recently, and I want to make sure that everyone has the latest information. In short, the administration initially decided to maintain biweekly collection through the summer months in order to a) avoid additional costs associated with hiring seasonal staff, and b) to accommodate for appropriate distancing in the workplace. Then at the most recent Special Council meeting, this decision was reversed, meaning that weekly garbage collection will resume mid-May with the following considerations having been identified by the City’s administration:
The health and safety of our staff and residents are a priority. Waste Operations will continue to implement enhanced physical distancing and sanitation procedures to guard the health and safety of our staff and of Saskatoon residents.
We recognize with many residents now working from home, there will inevitably be an increased accumulation of household waste. Tonnages are being monitored.
We are taking all the necessary precautions to prepare for what is to come and will adapt as the situation continues to evolve.
Residents have also been asking about the Green Cart program, which will function normally this year. Registration for the program is open now, and early bird registration (before April 30th) will save residents $20. Visit this page to sign up and keep food and yard waste out of the landfill!
It’s the time of year when potholes become top of mind, and I wanted to pass along to residents that the city’s crews are ready to begin this work as soon as asphalt mix becomes available. We understand this work will begin on priority streets no later than next week. To report a pothole that needs attention, please use the city’s online map.
Walking and Biking
There has been quite a bit of discussion in recent weeks about how best to accommodate safe walking and cycling in a time of physical distancing. The administration’s response to deny the request to open roadways up to exclusive walking and cycling, is largely because of limited administrative capacity to execute and safely monitor this type of change. Council did ask the administration to provide a written report on how to ensure safety for walking and cycling, including ongoing monitoring for the duration of the restrictions associated with the pandemic. The advice from Saskatoon’s EMO is to get outside, but to spread throughout the city as we do so in order to avoid crowding and conflict on pathways and sidewalks.
On a related note, the City has made adjustments to pedestrian-activated crossings so that users will no longer need to press the button in order to get a walk light. Read more about those changes here.
A bit of good news: the City’s Access Transit service has experienced a slowdown in bookings and will be using that excess capacity to help the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre deliver food hampers two days a week to residents in need. This initiative will take care to ensure appropriate distancing and will not affect the ability to deliver essential Access Transit services to customers who need it. Read more here!
Finally, for those interested in a deeper dive into the local statistics on COVID-19 in a provincial and national context, check here for weekly updates. Thanks again for everything you are doing to keep your neighbours safe – our efforts are producing promising results. Please contact me with any questions, and have a wonderful weekend.
City Councillor, Ward 7