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Hello Ward 7 Residents,

Happy Spring! Read on for some updates from our recent meetings, as well as a preview of some upcoming decisions at the Council table..

HAF Changes

You might already know that in February, the City of Saskatoon signed an agreement with the federal government to participate in the Housing Accelerator Fund, which is a program designed to create new housing in Canadian cities. In exchange for receiving $41.3 Million from the federal government, which will be used to support a number of housing initiatives detailed here, Saskatoon is required to undertake a number of zoning changes.

At our most recent meeting, Council started working on these changes and approved the elimination of barriers to constructing accessory dwelling units (like garden and garage suites). In the next few months Council will continue to debate zoning changes related to the HAF funding requirements, including the possibility of ‘as-of-right’ zoning changes (or in other words, changes that would apply broadly to the whole city or to large areas of the city). The two as-of-right changes required by the HAF agreement are to facilitate up to four units per site across the city, and to require up to four storey developments within 800m of a designated BRT routes. It’s important to note that City administration is still developing the reports which will detail the ways that these changes will be managed and what the exceptions and impacts might be. To read more, I would encourage you to check this site for details – it is being updated frequently.

We expect that the next batch of reports and decisions about this will be in front of Council in June, 2024. If you have any questions in the lead-up to that meeting, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Cycling Infrastructure: College and Wiggins

At our most recent meeting, Council considered a road safety audit for the intersection of College and Wiggins, where there was a tragic cyclist fatality in 2023. This report from administration (and the Standing Policy Committee on Transportation) recommended a number of possible interventions and changes that could improve safety for all road users, but at Council the bulk of our discussion was related to possible additional changes that would specifically target cycling safety. After hearing from community members and discussing it at length, Council approved the addition of bike box pavement markings, a northbound painted bike lane on Wiggins Avenue between College Drive and Elliott Street, and right turn on red restrictions at this locations. In addition, Council instructed Administration to provide further reporting about longer-term solutions to accommodate all road users in this area.

Long-term Organics Processing

As you might recall, Council awarded a contract for organics processing for green bin materials back in 2020, but the proponent was unable to meet the contract terms. Since the beginning of the green bin program last year, the materials have been processed by Loraas, but the City needed to identify a long-term solution for managing the organics collected through this program.

After analyzing the known costs in the private sector vs. the costs to construct and operate processing capacity in-house, the results showed that the City’s costs – and therefore costs to the residents – would be lower with a City-led facility. The option selected by Council was to proceed with the construction of a long-term organics processing facility, and this will save residents an estimate $1.5 Million per year. This will result in monthly utility rates that are estimated to be $1 per household per month cheaper than the rates for a private sector-led approach. This option also provides greater long-term certainty to residents in terms of prices, relative to the potential fluctuations in the market. If you’d like to read more details about this analysis, you can find the committee reports here. I also want to emphasize that the project itself will be put to a tender, and the construction of the facility will be subject to the City’s typical procurement process.

On a related note, I know that residents have questions about the ability to adjust the collections frequency/schedule for this program. Committee and Council will have a chance to weigh in on this and propose changes in June, so stay tuned for updates in the months ahead.

Construction Season

Spring is here, and questions about road and sidewalk work are on residents’ minds! I’m attaching the city’s construction map, which is a helpful resource for finding information about current and future projects. If you have questions about locations that aren’t on the map, please feel free to get in touch and I can help you track down more information.

Thank you for reading, and please let me know if you have any questions or issues you’d like to discuss with me.

Take care,