Ward 7 Update: September, 2016

Hi all,
This term on City Council is drawing to a close, but I’d like to provide one more update to you on some of the issues taking place at city hall and around the ward before the election period begins.

Transit Negotiations

As you’ve probably heard, ATU issued strike notice to the City last Friday at 5:00. Although talks took place throughout the weekend, progress has slowed and ATU has declined to take the City’s most recent offer to its membership for a vote. This offer includes a 10% wage increase over four years as well as an additional $1.00 per hour increase for Access Transit drivers in order to bring their wages to parity with other operators by 2019.

The major sticking point in this round of negotiations has been the pension plan. Pensions are complex, and I know there are rumours circulating about what exactly is happening with ATU’s pension. The summary is that the City negotiated changes to General Plan which were designed to secure the long-term sustainability of the plan. The plan remains a defined benefit plan and the changes do not affect retired members. These changes were approved by 8 of the 9 civic unions, but ATU has been seeking a separate deal on pensions. If you’d like to read more details about the pension issue or negotiations in general, go here.

Unfortunately, there is not much clarity at this point about what job action might look like and how it might affect residents. ATU has indicated that there will not be any job action before Friday, but please watch the city website for updates.

Glasgow Street

Over the last two weeks I’ve received a number of calls and emails about the curbing that’s been installed on Glasgow Street. I want to provide residents with a bit of background about why this curbing was installed and some information about what will happen going forward.

The curbing that has been installed on Glasgow was put in place in order to respond to concerns about traffic speeds and volumes along that stretch of road. The designs were proposed and ultimately approved as part of the Avalon Traffic Review, a resident-led process that included three public meetings throughout 2015 and early 2016. The traffic calming measures were installed as a one-year trial during which speed and accident data is being measured. At the conclusion of the pilot project, this data will be shared with the public before anything is made permanent. Some residents have been asking me to have this curbing removed, but because this was a neighbourhood-driven process I believe any further decisions about the project need to be taken out to the community rather than being made exclusively at City Hall.

I know there are some concerns in the area about this, and I would ask residents to share any specific questions or complaints with me so that the city staff responsible for the project can make adjustments as necessary. I will communicate any news about this project to residents as things progress.

Stonebridge Interchange

The interchange between Vic Boulevard in Stonebridge and Highway 11 is nearing completion and will likely open within the next couple of weeks. Residents in the area have identified some concerns about lighting and the visual impact of this infrastructure in the last week or so. We are working with Saskatoon Light and Power to reduce the impacts of the lights on residents in the area, so if anyone has any questions or concerns about this please let me know and I will ensure you are kept informed. Once the details around the opening date are confirmed the City will release them to the public, so keep an eye on the city website for more details.

Upcoming Election

The municipal election will take place on October 26th. While Council does not meet during the election period, you are still welcome to contact me with any city or neighbourhood issues that come up during the next month. However, if your questions pertain to the election or my campaign, please use my campaign contact information instead.

Have a great fall!

All the best,
Mairin

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