Category Archives: City of Saskatoon

Highrise at College & Clarence

The Varsity View-Grosvenor Community Association, together with our residents, has spent hundreds of hours developing an understanding of what this means for our community and what our position should be..

For those who have not heard the site is South East corner of College and Clarence. The corner is presently zoned for a mixture of 4 and 3 storey residential use with a 6 m. setback from College. The proposal is for a non-conforming 12 storey building with a 2.1 m setback.
The City is only obligated to let residents within 75 m of the new building know about the change in zoning. This is woefully inadequate. The Grosvenor-VVCA board gave up evening and weekend time to distribute the better part of a thousand extra flyers to residents.

The information presented at the meeting was incomplete. The reduced setback was not highlighted, and, in consequence, its implications were not discussed. Other aspects were disingenuous. Residents had concerns regarding traffic flow. In response, the expert stated that the new high rise would result in minimal additional delay for a vehicle crossing the College-Clarence intersection at rush hour. This is correct but has no bearing on travel time, which is the residents’ concern. Think of being in a queue at the supermarket, when the supermarket gets busier your time with the cashier does not change. However, the length of the queue changes, this determines how long it will take you to get out of the store. A final problem is that while many experts were on hand at the meeting, there was insufficient time to answer all concerns and no opportunity to view the experts reports after the meeting.

Based on the vote at the meeting (19 against, 1 in favor and 14 abstentions) and considerable further correspondence with the City planning department the Community Association is against this non-conforming development for these reasons:
• Inadequate consultation (see above)
• Potential adverse affects on parking. The current zoning requirements for visitor parking seem low. Residents around other high rises report increased parking problems because visitors cannot gain access to the spots reserved for them.
• The reduced setback limits future road improvements to College. The road immediately in front of the proposed high-rise is one of the few parts of College that will be reduced to two lanes by the new BRT routes.
• Residents report increased flooding in our neighborhood following storms. The City informs us that this will not be a problem because storm water from the roof, driveways, and paved surfaces will be collected and slowly run into the storm drains. As we are not aware of other developments in Varsity View where water from driveways is collected, we doubt that the developer will agree to this requirement.
• The ability of City water supply, sewer services, parks, and schools to absorb the additional demands of this building and the demands of conforming development that is already approved are unknown. Brunskill School is at capacity. It is unclear how the City/School Board will address the additional needs that densification brings.
• The high rise sits at the gateway to our community. It will have a negative affect on the single-family homes in the vicinity. Some of these have hundreds of thousands, or maybe millions, of investment. They anchor our neighborhood.
• High density housing decreases cohesion and increases crime. This is particularly true for the mix of high-density housing and low income groups (who do you think lives in high rises once they lose their new sheen?). Some developers suggest it is particularly true for residents who live more than 6 floors from the ground – they no longer feel part of the community and so are less inclined to help look after it.
• There is an abrupt transition from this high rise to single detached dwellings which is contrary to Saskatoon’s Official Community Plan.
• Although everyone denies this, approving a non-conforming high rise will set a precedent for our entire neighborhood. Prior to this proposal 2 to 4 storey buildings were planned for College. If a high rise gets approved our entire neighborhood could get similar additions. Another high rise is proposed for Cumberland and 8th. It is impossible to believe assurances about future development if Council does not respect its own zoning policies.

I am going to finish with a quote from the Hemson report, the bible for Saskatoon’s developers. Regarding infill: “where existing infrastructure capacity is insufficient, the cost of new infrastructure can be very high”. Unfortunately, the considerable densification that has already happened in Varsity View occurred in parallel with ever increasing taxes. It is unreasonable that we should pay more for development that detracts from our community.

Okay, maybe not finished. Firstly, your board is not against densification. We are against non-conforming densification. We believe in planning and zoning so that we can predict problems and manage the outcomes.

Finally, it is very important that you let your councillor know where you stand. We will only sway council if we are united on non-conforming development. Write or email Councillor Cynthia Block with your views.

Jon Naylor, VVCA President
president@vvcasaskatoon.com

President Murray Park parking restrictions

December 2018:

New parking restrictions are planned for streets bordering President Murray Park. The restrictions will limit parking to 2 Hours, Monday to Friday 08:00-17:00 and are being implemented as part of the approved Local Area Plan, to assist in reducing traffic and facilitate access to the Park. The changes are expected to be implemented over the next several weeks.

The parking restrictions are separate from the Residential Parking Permit program in place in the neighbourhood. Parking permits issued under the Residential Parking Program will not be valid on the block faces directly abutting President Murray Park and all vehicles will be subject to the posted parking restrictions.

City BRT Engagement

Thank you to everyone who came out to our Broadway and Downtown engagement events November 6th and 8th. We really appreciated your feedback and the opportunity to talk to you.

We are holding Bus Rapid Transit engagement events around the city over the next couple of weeks. We will have information on potential routing on-site, as well as knowledgeable staff members to answer any questions you may have. You will also have the opportunity to let us know what route options work best for you. For the most up-to-date listing please visit saskatoon.ca/engage as dates or locations may be subject to change.

November 16 – Midtown Plaza 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
November 20 – Place Riel (North Concourse) 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
November 20 – 1st Avenue (Bus) 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
November 21 – Lawson Mall 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
November 22 – The Centre Mall 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
November 26 – Stonebridge Bus Terminal 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
November 27 – College Drive (Varsity View): 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm Albert Community Centre, 610 Clarence Avenue South
November 28 – Market Mall 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
November 28 – Market Mall Transit Terminal 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
November 29 – Downtown Transit Terminal 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
December 4 – 3rd Avenue (Bus) 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
December 4 – Alice Turner Library 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
December 5 – Broadway Avenue (Bus) 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

City BRT Sessions

As a stakeholder in the future of Downtown and Nutana, we want to hear from you! The City of Saskatoon will be holding two Come & Go Engagement Sessions in both the Downtown and Nutana areas to provide information on the proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, as well as additional information on the proposed Downtown All Ages and Abilities (AAA) Cycling Network. We want to work with you to ensure that the needs of everyone who uses Saskatoon’s roads are met.

These engagement sessions are an opportunity for you to review potential BRT routing and Downtown AAA Cycling Network options. We will listen to your comments and gather your input on preferences and considerations on both initiatives, prior to City Council deciding on these plans in early 2019. The proposed BRT routing options are shown below. Please consider attending an engagement session to have your say about the future of transportation in Saskatoon.

DOWNTOWN:
November 6, 2018

3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Hilton Garden Inn, Garden South Room – 90 22nd Street East.
This location is wheelchair accessible.

NUTANA:
November 8, 2018

3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Emmanuel Anglican Church, Hasalam Hall (basement), 609 Dufferin Avenue.
This location is wheelchair accessible. Parking will be available on the street and behind the building.

Bus Rapid Transit

As the days get shorter and the temperature takes a dip, The City of Saskatoon is planning a number of engagement events around the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. They are looking for your input on where you would like to see the BRT system travel – particularly with regard to routes Downtown and in the Broadway area. Watch for pop-up events occurring across Saskatoon starting the week of November 13th! Pop-ups will be announced a couple of days in advance on the City of Saskatoon’s Facebook page at facebook.com/cityofsaskatoon.

On November 6th and 8th the City will be holding Come and Go engagement events with the Downtown and Broadway Business Improvement Districts. If you have a business interest in these areas or are a resident, and would like to receive more information about these events, please email brt@saskatoon.ca
or call (306) 975-2475.

Fall Street Sweeping

Don’t get swept away!!

With winter trying to make an early entrance, crews are busy with the annual fall sweeping program! As you clear up leaves from your yard this fall we want to remind you that City street sweepers will be in your neighbourhood over the next couple of weeks, removing leaves and debris from roads in heavily treed neighbourhoods. Remember it’s illegal to push leaves onto the street (The Street Use Bylaw). Extra leaves on roadways can cause spring drainage issues. Leaves can be placed loose in your green cart, taken to compost depots, or bagged and put into black carts. Learn more at saskatoon.ca/leaves or call our 24-hour customer service centre at 306-975-2476.

The sweeping program is expected to start Monday, October 15, and is determined by the weather and the amount of leaves on the ground. Be on the lookout for the bright yellow No Parking signs that let you know your street is about to be swept – reminding you to move your vehicle off the street to avoid a possible ticket and tow. Find your neighbourhood sweeping schedule at saskatoon.ca/sweeping and monitor City of Saskatoon Service Alerts to hear about unexpected changes that can affect your sweeping day.


Buena Vista​​ – October 16 & 24
Nutana – October 16, 19 & 24
Varsity View (North) – North of 14th Street E Only – October 15 & 19
Holiday Park – Avenues Only – October 17
King George – Avenues Only​ – October 17
Riversdale* – Avenues Only​ – October 23
Caswell Hill* – East of Avenue H Only – October 18 & 22
Mayfair* – Avenues Only – October 22
City Park* – East of 3rd Avenue and South of Duchess Street – October 15, 18 & 23

Public Meeting: Rezoning for High-rise

PUBLIC INFORMATION MEETING

Date:Thursday, September 13, 2018
Start time: 7:00 PM
Location: Brunskill School – 101 Wiggins Avenue (Small Gymnasium)
Re: 1006 College Drive & 421 Clarence Avenue North Proposed Official Community Plan Amendment and Rezoning
Applicant: North Prairie Developments

The City of Saskatoon has received applications from North Prairie Developments to amend the Official Community Plan and rezone 1006 College Drive and 421 Clarence Avenue North in the Varsity View neighbourhood (the vacant property adjacent to the intersection of College Drive and Clarence Avenue North).

The purpose of these applications is to facilitate the development of a multiple-unit residential building at this location consisting of:
– 12 floors above grade with approximately 170 residential units; and
– 4 parking levels below grade with approximately 230 parking spaces.

These applications require approval from City Council.

The purpose of this meeting is to provide neighbouring residents the opportunity to learn details of the applicant’s proposal and the rezoning process, and to gather public input on this matter.

Representatives of the City of Saskatoon and North Prairie Developments will each make a presentation, followed by a question and answer session.

Board of Police Commissioners Meeting

You Are Invited To A Community Meeting with the Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners

In its conduit role between the public and the Saskatoon Police Service, the Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners is very pleased to extend this invitation to your Association, all of its Members, and the public to attend a Community Meeting to discuss issues that impact our city.

Meeting Date: Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Meeting Time: 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Location: Saskatoon Farmers’ Market

The format for the Police Commission’s public consultation will include a brief overview / presentation followed by questions & answers from the floor and discussion on each issue. Planned topics include:
• Cannabis and the community,
• The newly formed Safe Community Action Alliance,
• De-escalation techniques employed by police to minimize potentially dangerous situations , and
• Street Checks / Contact Interviews policies and procedures.

The Community Meeting, hosted by the Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners and intended to expand community dialogue on key issues, is open to the public.

Your participation is invited!

Rezoning for High Rise

PUBLIC INFORMATION MEETING

Date:Thursday, September 13, 2018
Start time: 7:00 PM
Location: Brunskill School – 101 Wiggins Avenue (Small Gymnasium)
Re: 1006 College Drive & 421 Clarence Avenue North Proposed Official Community Plan Amendment and Rezoning
Applicant: North Prairie Developments

The City of Saskatoon has received applications from North Prairie Developments to amend the Official Community Plan and rezone 1006 College Drive and 421 Clarence Avenue North in the Varsity View neighbourhood (the vacant property adjacent to the intersection of College Drive and Clarence Avenue North).

The purpose of these applications is to facilitate the development of a multiple-unit residential building at this location consisting of:
– 12 floors above grade with approximately 170 residential units; and
– 4 parking levels below grade with approximately 230 parking spaces.

These applications require approval from City Council.

The purpose of this meeting is to provide neighbouring residents the opportunity to learn details of the applicant’s proposal and the rezoning process, and to gather public input on this matter.

Representatives of the City of Saskatoon and North Prairie Developments will each make a presentation, followed by a question and answer session.


Proposed Non-Conforming High Rise at College & Clarence Avenue

There is a proposal to rezone the corner of College and Clarence to allow a 12-storey 171-unit high rise with four below- grade parking levels. A public consultation meeting is scheduled for mid or late September. It will likely be on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evening. The date is not yet set. If you would like to be kept informed of this development, please email me at president@vvcasaskatoon.com

Rezoning for high density housing has both supporters and detractors. Supporters suggest that high density housing will:
• Reduce development costs and taxes
• Reduce loss of farmland
• Increase public transit ridership
Detractors wonder why:
• Increased housing density in Saskatoon has been accompanied by higher taxes
• Space for people to live a healthy life is not equally important as farmland
• Non conforming development is allowed when we took so much time to develop local area plans which allow for a wide variety of housing types within Varsity View

What do the facts say about these positions? Infill and high density housing have the advantage of requiring less new roads and sewer pipes. However, there are many other contributions to our overall tax bill. One major area is policing. Between 2006 and 2015 spending on policing jumped by 80% or 64% on an inflation adjusted basis, population growth was 23%. There is evidence that violent crime is linked to areas of high population density. Cities that demolish low income high density housing and disperse the residents to lower density housing reduce the City wide violent crime rate. It is not a coincidence that Toronto’s gun crime is centered on a few apartment complexes.

Reduce loss of farmland is self evident. How important that is in a Country that is one of the largest in the World is a matter for debate. When it comes to biodiversity, there is clearly a greater variety of plant and animal life in the average backyard in Varsity View than you will find in the average wheat field.

Increased public transport use goes to the high density camp. Overall, about 7.3% of Varsity View residents take public transport to work compared with 4.3% for the City as a whole. At a guess, a new 171-unit high rise will add an extra 5 riders compared to a combination of development within our zoning rules and low rise development in the ‘burbs.

Wherever you sit on this issue, please attend the meeting with the City to discuss the rezoning application. Meetings with good attendance carry a much greater weight than those with poor attendance.

Police Notice of Thefts

Message from the Saskatoon Police Services:

The City Police would like to bring your attention to an increase of thefts in the communities of Buena Vista, Nutana as well as the Exhibition areas. This notice is to all of the East Side Community Associations, as this information, although mainly affecting the above noted neighborhoods, would be of interest to all area neighborhoods.

Bicycles, sports equipment, as well as tools are being stolen out of vehicles and outbuildings (detached garages, sheds). Saskatoon Police are noticing that the people responsible for the thefts are wandering around your neighborhoods at night checking door handles of vehicles, and buildings. If any vehicles, or building is found to be unlocked, these people help themselves to whatever property they can get ahold of.

Saskatoon Police Services are requesting that if you have anything of value, anything you don’t want stolen, Please take it into your homes. If you have bikes, please lock the bike up with appropriate bike locks, and then please lock the garage or outbuilding you have it stored in.

A laminated sign – “All Valuables Removed” – can be picked up from Saskatoon City Police, or if you have a group that you think would benefit from such a sign, an officer personally drop some off. They are used to place in your vehicle to deter people breaking in.

We are all responsible for the security of our homes, and property, and working together we can prevent crime.

Cst. Patrick Skinnider #664
East Community Liaison Officer
Saskatoon Police Services

City Police “Contact Interview Guidelines”

Information Update to Community Stakeholders and Request for Comment on
“Contact Interview Guidelines for Municipal Police Services in Saskatchewan”

The Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners, as the conduit between the community and the Saskatoon Police Service, has communicated previously and received feedback from the community, on the issue of “Street Checks”, also referred to here as “Contact Interviews”.

When the Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners asked for feedback from the public on this issue in the spring of 2016, it received well over 100 responses, all of which were sent to the Saskatchewan Police Commission for its consideration in developing guidelines for use by municipal police services. Now that the Saskatchewan Police Commission has issued its guidelines, the Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners would like to, again, share this information as well as obtain the views, opinions and suggestions of stakeholders in Saskatoon.

Contact Interview Provincial Policy Summary July 2018 PDF


The Police Commission would appreciate your input on the provincial Policy. A brief (only 4 questions) survey on this issue can be completed on behalf of groups or by individuals, and is available on the Police Commission website until August 31, 2018 at http://saskatoonpolicecommission.com/survey.

Building Saskatoon’s Sporting Future

Saskatoon is an active, competitive, sporting city. But more people want to play than there are facilities to accommodate them.

The Master Plan for the Gordie Howe Sports Complex will expand our city’s capacity and address real need in our community.

Maximizing the use of new and upgraded facilities, the Master Plan will increase access to safe, reliable facilities for multiple winter and summer sporting activities in Saskatoon and area, allowing many more people to participate.

The Master Plan includes indoor and outdoor training and playing facilities to accommodate development programs for multiple sports, enable year-round training, reduce game cancellations due to poor weather and help athletes of all ages and abilities excel here at home.

Over 175,000 people will benefit every year.

The Gordie Howe Sports Complex aims to become the premier sports park in Western Canada, and a magnet for more national and international events.

Be a part of Saskatoon’s sporting future — Join the team building a better place to play!

gordiehowesportscomplex.ca

Gordie Howe Sports Complex flyer

City Collection Calendar

NOTICE
Your yearly collection calendar is going paperless for 2019

Get your calendar the way you want it: search your home address for a printable calendar or add it to your electronic calendar applications, such as Outlook, iCal or Google. Need help? Call our customer service centre at 306-975-2486 or email. We’ll even send you reminders via email, phone, text message, Twitter or with our Saskatoon Recycle & Waste app on Google Play or the App Store.

saskatoon.ca/collectioncalendar

Councillor Cynthia Block – July 2018

I hope you’ve been getting in some Saskatooning this month. It’s been an exceptionally great summer in the city with fabulous weather, festivals and downtown events. It’s also been a busy one at City Hall. Here are some highlights:

Growth Summit
This special meeting of all members of City Council was designed to flush out the way forward for transportation, as directed by the Growth Plan. Chambers was filled with many thoughtful residents who weighed in on Bus Rapid Transit, Bike lanes and vehicle traffic. I have also received hundreds of emails, letters and phone calls. Thanks to everyone for getting involved. Here are a few things to know:

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
This consumed most of the discussion as there are some concerns about where to route the project. BRT is designed to change HOW we do transit in the city and thereby increase ridership, reduce vehicle congestion and ensure Saskatoon is prepared for the future – for the same operational cost that we spend today. For the downtown route 3rd Avenue is recommended, but if 1st Avenue is a viable alternative I would prefer it. The Broadway routing is a concern for me. In theory, there could be a lot of upside for any street that takes on BRT, but preserving the overall character of Broadway must remain paramount in my view. Timeline for construction could begin within the next 2 years subject to capital funding from other levels of government.

All Ages and Abilities Cycling Network
The word “network” is key, as this has shown to be the precursor to increased usage. Cities across North America, including cold cities like ours (Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton) are moving to this model in order to improve traffic flow, enhance safety and increase options for those who either cycle or use other wheels. This could go a long way to improve Saskatoon’s accessibility for those who use wheel chairs, scooters and walkers. Note, I continue to oppose the 4th Avenue bike lanes and if the BRT can be moved to 1st Avenue, I would give serious consideration to moving the bike lanes to 3rd Avenue. It would allow a seamless multi-modal corridor from 8th Street, down Victoria Avenue, across the Traffic Bridge and onto 3rd Avenue. Timeline for completion of the AAA network isn’t known, but it could begin this year.

Imagine Idylwyld
This plan has been in the works for years and included intensive engagement with stakeholders. The main directive for this project is to IMPROVE TRAFFIC FLOW. Some media reports have been confusing, but there will be no reduction in traffic flow by adding cycling lanes. Sound too good to be true? It turns out that the current design is flawed on a number of levels and by fixing those issues we will have additional space that can be used for a raised cycling track, away from vehicle traffic. Midtown Plaza presented at the Growth Summit, indicating its planned $80 million dollar investment relied on the Imagine Idylwyld Plan, both for its aesthetic and multi-modal design.

Cannabis
Council has passed a bylaw that will allow the sale of cannabis once it becomes legal in October. Of note, cannabis sales will be prohibited within 60 metres of schools.

Garbage
Council approved funding to further study the option for a waste utility, which would include black/blue/green bins and the option to Pay as You Throw (PAYT) based on bin size. There will be NO double-dipping if this moves forward, as the garbage fees would be taken off of taxes and moved to the utility. The current waste management system is unsustainable both financially and environmentally. In short, these changes are designed to reduce overall costs, avoid large tax increases and divert 70% of our waste away from the landfill. More info here.

Taxis and Uber/Lyft
A committee of Council is recommending the approval of a stand-alone bylaw for ride-share companies, known as TNC’s (Transportation Network Company). This would enable companies such as Uber and Lyft to operate in Saskatoon once the province’s regulatory framework is in place, which is expected in October. At the same time, the committee’s recommendations include a number of requirements to ensure safety and a fair playing field for the taxi industry. The recommendation will go before Council in July.

Residential Parking Permit (RPP)
The implementation of the expanded RPP has been delayed, but the changes will be in place by September 1st. Those who live in the Varsity View neighbourhood will see implementation by August 1st.

Flooding
The City continues to offer a special program for anyone who would like assistance to mitigate flooding. The first 400 residents to sign up will receive a personal assessment at a subsidized cost of $125. You can find more information here. * Note, those who live in a designated flood zone are offered this service free of charge.

Main Street Centre Median
As promised, I pursued this issue at our last Council meeting, and administration has confirmed remediation of the landscaping will take place after last fall’s efforts fell short. The remediation covers areas that received major roadwork last summer. However, the overall condition of centre medians in Ward 6 is fair – poor. I plan to introduce a motion that would look into better options to maintain this landscaping.

Coffee with Your Councillor
I hope you’ll join me for the next Ward 6
Coffee with Your Councillor
Tuesday, July 17th
4pm – 6pm (*on the deck, weather permitting)
Nosh Eatery on Broadway

What’s the best part of a Saskatoon summer? Aside from the fabulous summer events, my favourite part is the casual walks/runs along Meewasin, Broadway or around my neighbourhood – with the dog, of course. Also, an over-indulgence at the Farmer’s Market is irresistible. What an amazing city to call home.

Wishing you the very best of our Saskatoon summer,

– Cynthia