Covid 19 continues to challenge Saskatoon, as the fourth wave proves larger and deadlier. City Hall also focuses in on neighbourhood infill, corridor planning and parking.
COVID: The provincial government says it will not grant Saskatoon its request to strengthen the Provincial Health Order (PHO) in our region, as Covid 19 continues to rage out of control. Last week Council unanimously endorsed a letter to the province to request gathering size restrictions and social distancing in public and private spaces that do not adhere to the PHO requirements for proof of vaccine or a recent negative Covid test. Council's unanimous decision followed strong advice from our EMO and Chief Medical Health Officer for the Sask Health Authority.
The City is complying with all provincial health orders, and will be discussing potential for further measures under its jurisdiction during a special Council meeting tomorrow. Our City is experiencing operational difficulties, especially in multi-use facilities where activities, such as swimming, are exempt from the provincial health order (PHO). This is causing confusion and challenges to keep all spaces compliant with the PHO. Our administration will ask Council to require the same PHO proof from all patrons at leisure centres and arenas.
Council is now using a color-coded framework to guide its pubic safety measures with more clarity. As we are currently in the orange zone (second highest) with very high transmission rates, our Public Health Officer has strongly recommended that we get vaccinated, observe public orders and limit gatherings. On a personal note, I will be celebrating Thanksgiving with my husband, our two children and my mother-in-law (all vaccinated at least twice!) I very much miss our large extended family gatherings pre-Covid, and can't wait to get everyone together again.
Here is a short rule of thumb for the weekend: ask guests about their vax status, keep the gathering small, visit outdoors as much as possible.
CORRIDOR PLAN: The City hosted its first public virtual meeting for the College Drive Corridor Plan in September. The City wants to identify opportunities to add density in and around the coming Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT) that will be routed down College Drive Preston Avenue and 8th Street. The bulk of the zoning changes are expected to take place on or very near these routes, so it is important to hear your feedback. The process is designed to bring more certainty to residents and reduce the need for one-off requests for zoning changes. To learn more, watch the meeting and provide your feedback. www.saskatoon.ca/engage
NEIGHBOURHOOD INFILL REVIEW: As part of the Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw Review Project (Zoning Bylaw Project), the City is reviewing regulations for the development of new one-and-two-unit and semi-detached homes in Saskatoon’s established neighbourhoods. To learn more and provide feedback, go to: www.saskatoon.ca/engage
RESIDENTIAL PARKING PERMITS (RPP): Many people who live in the Varsity View neighbourhood are eagerly awaiting expansion of the RPP zones. Due to Covid there have been delays in implementation, but our administration has assured Council it is preparing to bring its recommendations forward in 2021.
PARKING PATIOS: Council has approved expansion of the parking patio program. Sidewalk cafes and parking patios will now be allowed to operate all year round.
A couple of other notes...
I have heard from residents throughout the ward about noise and speed concerns. Police are aware and asking residents to report each time an incident occurs to better identify problem areas. (306-975-8300) Our administration is expected to report on the results of a noise study in early 2022.
This month, I am introducing a motion to have our administration review service levels for spring sweeping on active transportation infrastructure. In some cases the service does not exist and in others, such as pedestrian walkways on bridges, the service does not begin until mid June - following the residential street sweep. The goal is to provide better service for pedestrians earlier in the season.
And October 12th at 5pm is the deadline to apply for one of the City's boards and committees. You can learn more here: www.saskatoon.ca/boards This is a great way to get involved in our community!