Here are some highlights from City Hall this month, including updates for the Farmers Market, a new central library and the blue bin program. Also, check out a unique opportunity to participate in community safety with Saskatoon Police.
Recycling – Blue Bin
Council voted to retain the program, with a couple of changes. With changes in global markets for recycled products, black plastic (coffee lids, takeout containers) and polycoat (single use coffee pods) will be banned, along with plastic film such as grocery bags and baggies. Glass will still be collected, but the option to drop off at SARCAN will continue, as well. While glass often gets broken in the blue bin program, it can be used for other things without contaminating the other recyclable items. The monthly cost per household is expected to be $7 – $7.50 in 2020.
Council has endorsed a locally-grown authentic farmers market at River Landing, to be operated on days that work for the farmers. Council has further requested there be other operations on the site throughout the week. As per our procurement policy, Council is not allowed to sole source contracts, and as the current lease holder’s contract is expiring, a new Request for Proposals is being issued. Note, the building at River Landing will be closed in the New Year to fix issues with the roof. Our administration has confirmed the area will return as a farmers market in the spring.
New Central Library
After a decade of planning, the Saskatoon Public Library has unveiled its business plan for a new downtown library. Libraries across North America have shown to spur economic development, enhance quality of life and expand services in the digital age. The City is being asked to underwrite the capital costs. Right now, Council has asked our administration to review the plan and bring back answers to a variety of questions regarding size, scope and alignment with the downtown development strategy. It is also imperative that Saskatoon maintains its AAA credit rating and a low debt to operating cost ratio. One other important note, the building design calls for high environmental standards with full accessibility for people with disabilities. You can read more about the plan here.
Electric Bus Pilot Project
Saskatoon Transit is proposing a one year lease for an electric bus for our city. The project would help to determine the pros and cons in a winter city like ours. Data indicates a savings of $300,000 per bus over the life time of the vehicle compared with current buses, due to reduced costs for fuel and maintenance. The cost of the pilot project is being paid through a program initiated by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
A few more updates…
Council has entered into an agreement with the Saskatoon Tribal Council to work on a number of projects for mutual benefit. While this has been in practice for some time, “Sharing Prosperity Through Reconciliation” more clearly defines roles and avenues for working together to support residents of our city.
Saskatoon has another urban reserve. Located near the airport, the 40 acre parcel is owned by the Kahkewistahaw First Nation. A bylaw and services contract ensures the reserve is paying the same rate as property tax. Urban reserves have been building economic activity and creating employment in Saskatoon for the past 30 years.
As Council’s lead for downtown development, I am thrilled that Vendasta has chosen to stay and expand its operations in downtown Saskatoon. With several hundred employees, this tech company has been a rising star and will take over a number of floors atop Saskatoon Square, which will be renamed Vendasta Square.
The Board of Saskatoon Police Commissioners will host a special evening to get feedback from the community about safety and well-being. We are currently facing issues on a number of fronts, and this is an opportunity to work together to problem solve. There will be presentations from the Safe Community Action Alliance, Community Associations and Saskatoon Police, along with a break-out group session to share concerns and ideas.
Wednesday, October 16, 2019 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Saskatoon Farmers’ Market, 19th Street and Avenue B
You can find more details here.
Fingers crossed the fall weather will linger. Like many farmers, gardeners and golfers, I would be happy to see the snowy days delayed a little longer.