My priorities for this term reflect what I have heard on-the-ground from Ward 6 constituents, what I have seen and heard in City Hall and my experience as your neighbour in the community.
Parks and green infrastructure
Building on the basics means a continued focus on the essential infrastructure in our established neighbourhoods. Over the last 4 years, I have worked to prioritize the renewal and repair of over 85km of roadways, nearly 20km of sidewalks and over 25km of sanitary sewer work in Ward 6 neighbourhoods. I am committed to strong leadership for improved essential infrastructure, including our roads, sidewalks, water mains, storm sewers and expanded green infrastructure that encourages lasting residential growth.
I want to see the continued acceleration for road and sidewalk improvements in Ward 6. I am proud that economic recovery capital funding is being used to further accelerate infill sidewalks and rehabilitation of existing sidewalks, including accessibility ramps.
Improvements have been made to the Residential Parking Permit program, but I believe we still have more work to do to ensure residents in and near businesses, hospitals and educational institutions have reasonable access to on-street parking.
Ward 6 communities are known for the urban forest canopy, Meewasin Trail and vibrant parks. It is time to ensure that green investment is serving us well into the future. This includes preservation and protection of these assets, but also seeking new opportunities. A good example is the new dry pond being built at W.W. Ashley Park, which will provide flood mitigation to neighbouring streets, a protected soccer pitch and the added benefit of a partnership with Aden Bowman Collegiate for another new soccer pitch.
Historic neighbourhood character
Our historic neighbourhoods are taking on the largest share of Saskatoon’s city-building initiatives, putting pressure on infrastructure and quality of life. I have been a strong advocate to ensure our neighbourhoods are protected and able to see direct benefits from infill development. Endorsed by City Council, our administration is now looking at options to give back to infill neighbourhoods to ensure our sidewalks, parks and other amenities are keeping pace with growth.
Our Ward 6 communities are among the true gems of Saskatoon. As we grow, we must ensure the continued vibrancy and unique identity of Ward 6 residential and commercial areas.
Low Emissions Community Plan (LEC)
Saskatoon is a growing city. As a modern city, our growth must be smart to achieve strong sustainability objectives and spending efficiencies, while meeting the needs of our diverse community members. This means sensible urban densification, forward-thinking transportation planning and investment in low emission solutions.
For every metre of roadway, sidewalk and underground pipe, Saskatoon becomes a more expensive city. Increased density helps to mitigate costs and make our city more sustainable economically and environmentally. This must be done respectfully in order to protect the character of our historic neighbourhoods.
BRT has been described as a “Subway on Wheels”. It’s hard to imagine at this point, but as our city grows up, like all bigger cities, a better public transportation option will be required. An all-electric fleet is being considered for the roll-out of BRT in 2025.
Council has endorsed a number of projects that will save money and reduce emissions. LED light replacements in civic buildings and street lights are already saving our city millions of dollars every year. Property Assessed Clean Energy loans (PACE) will also reduce emissions and save money.
Everyone deserves a place to call home
Together, we can build a safe and caring city for all of us. Often, we relegate social policy to federal and provincial governments, but as a city we must recognize that this is our back yard, and we need to seek new ways to achieve results. We are fortunate to have the Safe Community Action Alliance, with more than 60 lead agencies working together to address the serious issues of mental health, addiction and homelessness. This includes the business community, Saskatchewan Health Region and many community agencies. While infrastructure repairs and employment statistics are important aspects of a modern city, attention to less tangible social issues can have an immense impact on quality of life and the economy.
Saskatoon residents are dying from accidental overdoses. We have seen people of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds succumb to addiction in the desperation of economic and mental crisis. All levels of government are being urged to take action by health care and emergency services.