This month, there are two City updates. If you live in Ward 6, a newsletter was mailed out last week with highlights from 2017 and a look ahead at plans for 2018. Click here to see the newsletter online.
There were several decisions made at City Council last week that will affect Saskatoon residents.
Starting in April, the City will no longer accept plastic film such as grocery bags, sandwich bags and plastic wrapping in recycling bins. This is a complex situation and research to find better ways to manage is on-going, but the lack of markets for this product along with contamination to other recycling materials has made the decision necessary. It would be helpful to find alternatives to using these products.
Council has approved a composting program for multi-unit housing complexes. 40 percent of the waste created in townhouses, apartments and condos is organic, but there is no City program for composting in these units. Similar to the process for single-family homes, there will be community engagement so that we can create a system that is easy to use and that diverts this material from the landfill.
Council is moving ahead with the Recovery Park capital project, which will integrate all landfill and recycling entry facilities into one. This is a large scale project designed to divert 70% of all waste and stave off the expense of a new landfill. Recovery Park will change the way that people interact with the landfill and will make recycling, diversion and the safe disposal of hazardous waste easier. There is no mill rate impact for the Recovery Park capital project.
For more information: https://www.saskatoon.ca/community-culture-heritage/environment/waste-diversion
Saskatoon Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT)
Council has unanimously agreed to create a memorandum of understanding with SIIT, in order to remove barriers to employment and support a more representative workforce. The City will work with SIIT on program development to ensure classes match labour demands.
Home Flood Protection
City Council has adopted the Home Flood Protection Program (HFPP), as we also continue to work toward a comprehensive report on engineered solutions, expected later this year. The HFPP offers customized home assessments and information online to help citizens reduce the risk of flooding. Homeowners in the 30 highest flood risk areas will be eligible for a fully subsidized home flood risk inspection.
Council has approved a number of tangible steps to reduce barriers to downtown development. These include a Downtown Development Coordinator position that will be funded through building permits, a targeted effort to cut red tape, new incentives for development and a plan to pre-engineer the downtown core to reduce uncertainty about water, sewer, storm water and traffic impacts.
Hats off to the folks in our Planning Department who have worked diligently with stakeholders to deliver a comprehensive strategy to support the Growth Plan.
Council received a report from the Planning Department on the next steps in accommodating growth in existing neighbourhoods. Conflicts have arisen with Local Area Plans, some of which are nearly 20 years old. The City wants to provide better clarity and certainty for neighbourhoods by identifying nodes and corridors that are expected to see greater density, including transition zones. Currently, this planning is focused on areas that are identified for Bus Rapid Transit. The framework will need to reflect a number of factors, including neighbourhood character so the transitions can be managed in ways that respond and reflect existing characteristics. Public engagement will be a key part of the corridor development initiative.
A couple of other notes, it was a pleasure to welcome our new Police Chief Troy Cooper, as he was officially sworn in last week. Also, this is Cultural Diversity and Race Relations month in Saskatoon. To commemorate this, a ceremony and flag-raising were held last week and we look forward to a number of community events in March. And, the City has officially signed an MOU with the University of Saskatchewan, to work together on land development, transit, environmental issues and Reconciliation.