Hello Ward 6
As we continue to cope through the pandemic, we are making progress to flatten the curve and many residents are now able to return to activities and workplaces. I continue to be inspired by so many of you who are stepping up to support neighbours, friends and strangers. Thank you.
Also, huge thanks to everyone who participated in the Virtual Block Party last week. It was great to hear from you about the issues and concerns affecting your neighbourhood.
Among the biggest concerns was closed playgrounds, as children (and their parents) anxiously await reopening. This week the province announced playgrounds will open Friday, and the City is busy preparing.
Saskatoon Public Library
Hot off the press, SPL has just announced book returns and curbside book borrowing will begin on Monday, June 15th. This is phase one of their re-open plan.
As the economy gears up, City bylaws that were lifted during the emergency lockdown are now back in force. Council has reinstated the Residential Parking Permit Program (RPP), the 72 hour on-street bylaw and paid parking in Business Improvement Districts. Also, Transit is back to front-loading and full fare, albeit with restricted numbers and spacing to support social distancing.
The year-long review of the Residential Parking Permit program has concluded after extensive engagement, and Council has endorsed a more strategic approach with additional criteria to identify RPP districts. It will be designed to stave off the persistent problem of new RPP streets moving congestion to another street. The next step is the tabling of a new bylaw.
Street Sweeping is underway, and there have been many questions about this from residents. As a general rule of thumb, the sweep is a 3-pronged approach. A pre-sweep happens on streets that carry excess gravel through the winter, and also streets with centre medians. These efforts improve drainage, avoid flooding and make the residential sweep less time-consuming. Priority for the curb-to-curb residential sweep rotates through different areas of the city each year, to ensure fairness. Visit the street sweep schedule for more info:
*Note: Inclement weather can impact the schedule.
Construction Season is moving ahead and work has begun on 8th Street. This project will be done in phases, but will overhaul the street to improve roads, sidewalks and underground infrastructure, ultimately helping to refurbish the area for another generation.
There will also be a major overhaul on Clarence Avenue from College Drive to 8th Street, and work done on Munroe and Temperance, east of Clarence. The work includes watermains, lead lines, sidewalks and roadways. Like the 8th Street project, work will be done in phases to minimize disruption.
Rehabilitation of the Sid Buckwold Bridge (*year 2) is also underway, and will be completed this season.
Noise & Speed
This is a reoccurring issue for residents throughout the city, compromising quality of life for many. Council has directed that tools be found to provide enforcement, even if it means a wider search or collaboration with other partners to secure reliable technology to test vehicle noise. Thanks to everyone who spoke or sent submissions to committee and Council to help us better understand the seriousness of the problem. I’d also like to thank the Saskatoon Police Service for its heightened response in the wake of these concerns. Enforcement of speed violations also helps with noise levels in residential neighbourhoods.
Many of you have reached out to ask how the pandemic and shutdowns will impact the City budget, as municipalities are not allowed to run operating deficits. Council has been clear, there will be no impact to the 2020 property taxes, and there are a number of options moving forward that could stave off any property tax impact due to COVID 19. The City of Saskatoon has a good fiscal stabilization reserve and we are working with both the provincial and federal governments on innovative ways to strengthen the economy and minimize the impact to municipalities.
We are truly fortunate to live in a community, province and country where people step up to support each other.
Together, we will rise like never before.