Fire Pit Regulations

In light of the early summer weather and dry conditions, the Fire Department has issued the following reminder to residents:

Due to the unusually dry conditions we have experienced this year, the Saskatoon Fire Department would like to take this time to remind everyone of the regulations for residential fire pits. Currently, we have not issued a fire ban within city limits.

Every use of a fire pit is subject to the following conditions:

Fire must be contained within a non-combustible fire box constructed of material such as cement, brick or metal and covered with a heavy gauge metal screen. SFD recommends that fire pits be situated at least three metres from any combustible materials (ie. fences or buildings).

The size of the fire box of any outdoor burning facility shall not exceed .61 cubic metres.

Only cut, seasoned wood or charcoal shall be used to fuel outdoor fires. Burning tree branches and garden refuse in a fire pit is not permitted.

All outdoor fires shall have responsible supervision at all times.
Always have a source of water nearby to extinguish once you are done.

No person shall light an outdoor fire when the weather conditions are conducive to creating a running fire or allowing the smoke from the fire to be a nuisance to another person (smoke drift).

If smoke from an open-air fire causes an unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of another person’s property, the fire shall be extinguished immediately.

The following items are not permitted to be burned in fire pits within Saskatoon city limits:

– Rubbish
– Garden refuse
– Manure, livestock or animal carcasses
– Any material that is classified as a dangerous good
– Any material that will create dense black smoke when burned
– Any material that will create a foul odour when burned.
– A video with information on fire pits can be viewed at Fire Pit Safety

The use of fire pits in Saskatoon is regulated by Fire and Protective Services Bylaw No. 7990. Please note: SFD will extinguish any fires that do not comply with the Bylaw.

Residents who would like to report a fire or fire pit should call 306-975-3030.

Projected Roadway Plan: 2016-2018

If you’re curious about the work that’s planned for Saskatoon’s roadways over the next three years, the map below shows the areas planned for rehabilitation between now and 2018. The map also indicates which roadways have been treated since 2014 when Council began dedicating additional tax revenue to road work. This is a projected plan and may change slightly over time, but it does give a general sense of which areas of the city will be treated in the years ahead.

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Committee reports: November

Here’s what happened at the meetings of the Standing Policy Committee on Transportation and the Standing Policy Committee on Environment, Utilities, and Corporate Services this month:

SPC on Transportation

7.2.1 Update on the Development of the Active Transportation Plan (Matters Requiring Direction)

The report provides an update on the development of the Active Transportation Plan (ATP). A motion to support the recommendation to receive the report as information was supported unanimously by the Committee.

Background: The ATP is being developed in five phases. The project is roughly 50% complete.

Since the ATP was launched in April, over 2,000 residents and stakeholders have been engaged through various activities and events.

It is anticipated that the ATP will contain recommendations in the following areas:
-bicycle parking and integration with transit
-land use and growth plans to support moving around with active transportation
-maintenance and accessibility
-education and awareness
-safety
-connectivity of walking and cycling facilities
7.2.4 Amendments to Bylaw No. 7200, The Traffic Bylaw – Speed Limit Changes (Matters Requiring Direction)

A motion to recommend to Council to support the recommendations in the report was supported unanimously by the Committee.
Recommendations of the report are as follows:
1. That a speed limit of 60 kph on Range Road 3060 from the north City Limit south to highway 16 be established.
2. That a speed limit of 60 kph on Wanuskewin Road between 51st Street to a point 450 metres north of Adilman Drive be established.
3. That a speed limit of 70 kph on Wanuskewin Road from a point 450 metres north of Adilman Drive to a point 370 metres north of 71st Street be established.
4. That a speed limit of 80 kph on Range Road 3055 from 71st Street West to the north City Limit be established.
5. That a speed limit of 90 kph on Wanuskewin Road from a point 370 metres north of 71st Street to the north City Limit be established.
6. That a speed limit of 90 kph on 71st Street West from Thatcher Avenue west to the City Limits be established.
7. That a speed limit of 100 kph on Highway 11 from a point 470 meters south of Circle Drive East to the south City Limit be established.
8. That the City Solicitor be requested to prepare the appropriate bylaw amendment to Bylaw No. 7200, The Traffic Bylaw to go into effect February 1, 2016.

Background: The City recently annexed roadways which previously were regulated by the Provincial Traffic Safety Act and must now be included in The Traffic Bylaw.

7.2.7 Neighbourhood Traffic Review Process – Updated Process (Matters Requiring Direction)

The Committee unanimously supported a motion for the Administration to report back to the Committee with recommendations on a clear policy regarding the endorsement of a final Neighbourhood Traffic Review, including a process outlining alternatives where some elements of a Neighbourhood Traffic Review may not be acceptable to City Council.

Background: The report outlines proposed changes to the ‘Traffic Calming Guidelines and Tools’ document. Changes are required due to concerns recently raised at City Council about the ability of the Neighbourhood Traffic Review process to lead directly to permanent road restrictions or significant roadway changes, and how input is sought from throughout the community.

7.2.8 8th Street Transit Corridor Review (Matters Requiring Direction)

The Committee unanimously supported a motion to recommend to City Council 1) that Saskatoon Transit be directed to further develop the service along 8th Street and 2) that the Administration report back by April 2016 so City Council can decide whether to implement changes in July of 2016.

Background: Saskatoon Transit Administration has reviewed the service currently provided along the 8th Street Corridor. Planners identified the possibility of re-deploying current resources and achieving service approaching 5 minute frequencies along 8th Street during peak hours, and 10 minute frequency for the remainder of weekdays and on Saturday. Frequency of 30 minutes would be provided on evenings (Monday to Saturday), early Saturday mornings, and on statutory holidays and Sundays.

7.2.10 Sidewalk Snow Clearing Enforcement Process – Implementation (Matters Requiring Direction)

The Committee unanimously supported a motion to forward the report to City Council as information.

Background: In February, the Committee received a report from the Administration recommending options to improve sidewalk snow clearing compliance through the Sidewalk Clearing Bylaw. The Committee then asked Administration to provide an implementation report outlining details.

The new sidewalk clearing enforcement procedure is designed to increase compliance and decrease clearing time.

A detailed, objective inspection process will be followed to establish compliance.

Discretion will be used for seniors and residents with disabilities.

City property will conform to the requirements of the Sidewalk Clearing Bylaw.

SPC on Environment, Utilities & Corporate Services

6.3.1 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Recommendations (New Matters)

The Committee referred this matter to the Saskatoon Environmental Advisory Committee for information and to the Administration for a report.

Background: The Saskatchewan Environmental Society presented recommendations based on its observations about best places to start in reducing community-wide greenhouse gas emissions in Saskatoon.

7.2.1 Strategic Plan: 2015 Progress Report for Performance Measures (Matters Requiring Direction)

The Committee supported the recommendation to forward the report to City Council for information.

Background: Performance Measures for our 2013-2023 Strategic Plan were approved by City Council in April after consultations with citizens and stakeholders.

2015 Mid-year updates are available for 16 of the 25 corporate performance measures.

All divisions have identified initiatives and supporting measures that contribute to the corporate targets.

Next Steps: “Our Performance” website will be updated with mid-year progress towards targets, how we are making strides, opportunities for improvement, and strategies for success.

7.2.3 2015 Curbside Swap (Matters Requiring Direction)

The Committee supported the recommendation to forward the report to City Council for information.

Background: Program feedback and survey results show that both the 2014 and 2015 Curbside Swap events were well attended. In 2015 nearly 900 participants on the Facebook event created for Curbside Swap said they would participate.

50 participating homes were visited by City staff and 61 participants provided their address on Facebook.

A one-day city-wide Curbside Swap event was held in 2015 to bring greater awareness to the program through focussed communications. Community Associations participated in the Curbside Swap program by either by hosting their own event or by communicating the city-wide event.

Other Canadian municipalities involved in facilitating swaps hold one-day citywide events in their communities.

7.2.4 Landfill Ban Implementation Considerations (Matters Requiring Direction)

The Committee supported forwarding a recommendation to the 2016 Business Plan and Budget Review recommending that a phased landfill ban program for paper and cardboard begin in 2016.

Background: In order to effectively divert waste from all Saskatoon area landfills, a landfill ban program needs to address paper and cardboard at the curb.

The main considerations for implementing a successful landfill ban program for paper and cardboard in Saskatoon are: a) That all sectors have programs in place to support paper and cardboard diversion prior to enforcing a ban at the landfill. b) That waste haulers, material recovery facilities and landfills are prepared to divert paper and cardboard. c) That extensive stakeholder consultations and education are used in the development and set-up of the program.

10.7% of the total waste received at the City’s landfill in 2014 was paper and cardboard from the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional sector, presenting a significant opportunity for advancing the waste diversion rate in Saskatoon toward the Performance Target of 70%.

7.2.6 Roadways Design, Construction, and Maintenance – Civic Service Review (Matters Requiring Direction)

The Committee supported a recommendation to refer the report to the Standing Policy Committee on Finance to consider recommending that the information be received in conjunction with the pending audit on Roadway Maintenance and Rehabilitation and forward the November 9, 2015 report to City Council for information.
Background

The report is a summary of the Roadways Design, Construction and Maintenance Civic Service Review. Improvements in process and operations in the summary will improve service to citizens through increased effectiveness and will improve efficiency in the delivery of civic services.

7.2.8 Wastewater Treatment Plant – Odour Monitoring System Update (Matters Requiring Direction)

The Committee supported the recommendation to forward the report, updating the Odour Abatement Project at the Wastewater Treatment Plant, to City Council for information.

Background: Construction commenced in May 2015 and is currently 25% complete.

An odour monitoring system is currently being installed at the site by Odotech Inc. and is expected to be collecting data by the end of November 2015.

Bridge News

Wondering what the new Victoria Bridge might look like? Here are some renderings of the new design. Spoiler alert: it looks a lot like the old one.

One important change is the addition of wider pedestrian/cycling paths on both sides of the new bridge. As a reference point, the pedestrian/cycling underpass (i.e. the Stew Uzelman Pathway) under the Circle Drive North bridge is the same width as these pathways will be (3 meters). There will also be sharrows on the vehicle lanes to make it clear that these lanes may also be used by cyclists.

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Standing Committees: August

Here’s a summary of what happened at the Standing Policy Committees on Transportation and Environment/Utilities/Corporate Services yesterday. These are the two committees of Council on which I sit, and we meet monthly.

7.1.1 Parking Services Update (Delegated Authority Matter)

*The City continues to roll-out the FlexParking system and enforcement has steadily increased. Allowing parking session top-ups is set to be activated and the smartphone parking application will be launched this fall.
*The City is collaborating with the Broadway BID to accelerate the program’s inception in that area to September 9 in order to utilize the Street Fair on September 12 to educate the public on the parking stations.
7.2.1 Pedestrian Crossing Control Criteria and Prioritization (Matters Requiring Direction)

*this report contains a prioritized list of pedestrian crossing control device projects.
*The prioritized list of locations recommended to install a Pedestrian Actuated Signal is as follows: 1. Broadway Avenue / 9th Street 2. Confederation Drive / Milton Street
*The prioritized list of locations recommended to install an Active Pedestrian Corridor is as follows: 1. Taylor Street / McEown Avenue 2. 20th Street / Avenue G 3. Cowley Road / Forsyth Way 4. Konihowski Road / Pezer Crescent (South) 5. Lowe Road / Ludlow Street 6. Konihowski Road / Garvie Road 7. Kingsmere Boulevard / Crean Crescent 8. 33rd Street / Avenue C
*The prioritized list of locations recommended to install a Pedestrian Corridor is as follows: 1. Konihowski Road / Pezer Crescent (North) 2. Adilman Drive / Russell Road 3. Hart Road west of Bowlt Crescent (midblock) 4. Cumberland Avenue / Elliot Street 5. Dufferin Avenue / 11th Street 6. 23rd Street / Montreal Avenue 7. 7th Avenue / Princess Street 8. Clarence Avenue / Cascade Street
*The location recommended to be upgraded from a Pedestrian Corridor to an Active Pedestrian Corridor is the intersection of Pendygrasse Road and St. Mark School (midblock).

*the report will be forwarded to City Council for information during 2016 Budget and Business Plan deliberations.

7.2.2 Intersection Improvement Project Selection Process (Matters Requiring Direction)
*this report identifies the criteria and process used to select and prioritize the intersections requiring reviews for improvements to road safety conditions, operating conditions, or quite often both.
*The committee recommends to City Council at its meeting to be held on September 28, 2015:
1. That the Administration be directed to draft a policy pertaining to the prioritization of intersections requiring traffic reviews based on the selection process outlined in the report;
2. That the policy be reviewed upon approval of City Council of the Active Transportation Master Plan and Growing Forward! Shaping Saskatoon Plan (Growth Plan); and
The Committee further resolved that when this report is presented to City Council, the Administration provide an update on the state of relevant reserves for capital expenditures.

7.2.5 Transit Update – Customer Service and Marketing (Matters Requiring Direction)
*the report provides an overview on the customer service initiatives and the Back to School Transit Marketing Campaign being launched at the end of August 2015.

*the report will be forwarded to City Council for information at its meeting to be held on September 28, 2015.

SPC on Environment, Utilities & Corporate Services

7.2.1 Evoqua Water Technologies – Supply of Proprietary Parts – Blanket Purchase Order (Matters Requiring Direction)

*the committee will recommend to City Council at its meeting held on August 20, 2015 that Administration prepare a blanket purchase order with Evoqua Water Technologies for the supply of proprietary wastewater treatment equipment for the next three years, for a total estimated cost of $450,000 (including taxes); and that Purchasing Services issue the appropriate blanket purchase order.

7.2.2 Capital Project No. 2558 – WTP – Clarifier Tube Settlers – Award of Engineering Services (Matters Requiring Direction)

*the committee will recommend to City Council at its meeting to be held on August 20, 2015 that the proposal submitted by Catterall & Wright for engineering services and construction management for the upgrade of Clarifier #3, at a total upset fee of $258,000 (including GST and PST), be accepted; and that the City Solicitor be requested to prepare the appropriate agreement and that His Worship the Mayor and the City Clerk be authorized to execute the agreement under the Corporate Seal

Ward Meeting

The Ward 7 Town Hall meeting is approaching quickly! Join me on Thursday, June 4 at 7:00 at St. Martin’s United Church (at the corner of Clarence and Wilson) for a conversation about our neighbourhoods and the City at large.

Hope to see you there!

Mairin

Update on Transit

As you know by now, a lockout has been imposed on Transit workers by the City. I know this is very disruptive and in some cases quite devastating for residents. For those of you who are directly impacted, I’m very sorry for the inconvenience this is causing you and your families. I hope the information below provides some useful context for this situation. I apologize in advance for the length of this post: there is a lot of information to get through here.

Logistics

The lockout, which took effect Saturday evening, will remain in place until further notice. Access Transit is not affected during the lockout and will continue to function normally. For people who rely on Transit and would like to explore ride-sharing options, please check here. For students and employees at the University of Saskatchewan, visit this page for information on transportation alternatives, check here. We intend to issue refunds for bus passes, but the details of how this will work have not yet been confirmed. Please watch the city website for updates or call 306-975-3100.

Pension

Much of the current stalemate between the City and ATU relates to the pension plan. This is a complex and technical debate, and I’ll do my best to explain the circumstances succinctly.

The most recent valuation of the pension plan was conducted in 2012 and was filed with the Pension Superintendent by the Board of Trustees. This valuation showed a deficit in the plan of about $6.7 Million. This valuation was conducted by AON, which is the independent plan actuary. In response to this valuation, the pension superintendent (who oversees all pension plans in Saskatchewan) has issued a letter to the City instructing us to begin making special payments of $90,000 per month in order to address this shortage.

This year the City bargained with all 9 civic unions in order to reach consensus about the pension changes that are necessary to keep the pension plan in good stead with the Pension Superintendent. These changes would allow the City to avoid paying the $90,000 per month by improving the sustainability of the plan. 8 of the 9 civic unions agreed to the proposed changes, but ATU did not. As a result, City Council passed a bylaw yesterday amending the plan to make these changes. It’s regrettable that this did not take place at the bargaining table, but these changes were necessary to a) safeguard the fiscal health of the city, and b) ensure fair treatment to the other 8 unions who had agreed to the proposed changes. (It’s important to note that the changes do not affect the overall design of the plan, which is a defined benefit plan and will remain so.)

Wages

The City’s last offer to ATU was for a 10% raise over 4 years, and all of the other 8 civic unions have already agreed to this offer. ATU’s most recent counter-offer was a 22.5% raise over 5 years, which at more than double the package agreed to by all other civic workers would represent an unfair deal for many civic employees. If you’re interested in seeing how the latest offer stacks up against national comparisons, you can find that here.

Next steps

The City is interested in getting back to the bargaining table as soon as possible to work towards a contract with ATU, and I’m hopeful that a mutually agreeable solution will be reached quickly. I feel strongly that a reliable, convenient, and comfortable Transit system is essential for Saskatoon in order to be an efficient and liveable City, and we intend to implement a Bus Rapid Transit system in order to transform our current system into one that works for a growing community. I know that resolving the current labour dispute is an important component of building this system, and we will need to make additional investments in Transit in order to make this happen. I look forward to making these improvements with input from residents. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions or comments about any of the above.

Take care,
Mairin