Hello Ward 7 Residents,
I hope this message finds you happy, healthy, and rested following the long weekend. Below are some updates from City Hall.
Victoria Bike Corridor
At our most recent meeting, Council debated how to tackle the next leg of the Victoria cycling corridor. As most of you will know, the first stage of this corridor, which will eventually extend from the Victoria Bridge to Ruth Street, has been constructed from the bridge to 8th Street. Options for constructing the next section, from 8th Street to Taylor Street, were evaluated and underwent extensive neighbourhood consultation over the last year or so.
After considerable debate on this item, Council decided to proceed to the detailed design phase for bike lanes along this stretch, and Council selected the option which will preserve on-street parking for residents. This option also requires the shrinking of the median and removal of some trees in order to accommodate the changes. Although it is the best option for connectivity and ease of use, it is a more expensive option, and so at our Council meeting I moved a recommendation that directed administration to report back to the next step in the process with options to reduce the overall project cost and explore additional external funding options, including the new federal funding stream for Active Transportation.
Downtown Entertainment District
Council has recently directed City Administration to explore funding possibilities for a new Downtown Entertainment District, which could include a new arena, but also improvements to the Bus Rapid Transit system and other community amenities. The strategy Council has endorsed includes working with other levels of government to explore funding methods currently not in place, such as special levies and external funding streams, to build the project(s) in a way that minimizes dependence on property tax.
In addition to directing that Administration pursue this type of strategy, Council also resolved that the pursuit of this district should consider several other factors:
- A key objective of the entertainment district be to provide public benefit to all residents of Saskatoon;
- The Administration will create a public process map to ensure transparency during the decision-making process;
- The Administration will lead an analysis of industry forecasts related to events and tourism that would be relevant to the planning of a downtown entertainment district/BRT, especially as we navigate recovery from COVID-19;
- Consideration of Indigenous placemaking and partnerships in the development of the downtown entertainment district; and
- Ensuring environmental leadership throughout the project through the City’s High Performance Building Policy and by pursuing carbon neutrality in the district.
This process will be a complex one, and will take time – as it should. These decisions and directions move us closer to a clear path forward in terms of how to plan for this district.
Town Hall Meeting
The annual Ward 7 Town Hall meeting with Mayor Charlie Clark is coming up on June 9th at 7:00 pm, and you can find more information about how to watch and participate here. You can submit a question in advance using the form on the site, or you can submit a question during the event. Watch the site for updates, and hope you can join us!
Odds and Ends
With the arrival of spring upon us, in theory if not totally in practice, a number of recreational facilities have opened up for the summer months. City golf courses are now open and tee times can be booked here. Kinsmen Park is up and running, and while the train is currently out of commission as the track is repaired, the rides and playground are open to the public. There are some changes to the operation of the facility to ensure proper public health protocols are in place, and you can check here before your visit to learn more.
Saskatoon Transit has also announced the incoming launch of mobile ticketing, which will allow riders to pay for rides on the go using their phones. This is an important step for making Transit as convenient as possible for residents. For updates about the project, check here.