I forgot to talk about the bit establishing a Legal Opinion reserve, to the tune of $27,500. Councillors and the mayor would be able to access this funding in order to obtain a legal opinion on things such as conflicts of interest. This is when the matter is outside the purview of the City Solicitor’s office. No reason is given why conflict of interests are singled out here, and Councillors can only access the account once per case, at a maximum of $2,500 a pop. I also don’t know if this would be covered by FOI either.
Sorry guys, it’s mostly just requests for proclamations and noisy events this month. You people are letting the side down. Even the ones who wrote in about things are just the usual suspects (although no letter from Mr Regier, he must be taking a month off).
First salvo is from Ken, an indignant anti-RAGger. He’s dutifully clipped out Elaine Hnatyshyn’s recent Express column asking Council to “Tell us the real cost of Remai Art Gallery”, which, good luck with that. Also the Express missed a great opportunity to use the hed “From Riches to RAGS”, which saddens me greatly. My advice to councillors, when asked about capital cost of any project, is to reply, “Eleventy-billion dollars” with a straight face and then refuse to answer any more questions. Sure, the press may hate you but look at it this way, you’ll get the pull-quote for sure. Nobody’s going to believe whatever actual number you toss out, anyway.
An anti-fluoride letter, reminding Saskatoon that Calgary doesn’t fluoridate.
Festivals/events asking for noise waivers etc.:
- River Lights Festival, July 26-28
- Central American pavilion, Folkfest, Lion’s Arena, Aug 14-18th
- Bridge City Boogie, June 9th
- Pleasant Hill Community Powwow, Grace Adam Metawewinhik Park, June 14th
- WW Ashley Park Playground opening, June 15th – asking for street closure
- Rib Fest, Diefenbaker Park, August 4th
- Easter Seals Drop Zone, Carlton Tower, August 27
- aka gallery’s Street Meat Public Dance Party, River Landing Amphitheatre, July 7th (this sounds interesting)
- SIIT Pancake Breakfast, 229 4th Ave S, June 7th
May 5 to 11 is Emergency Preparedness Week; there’ll be a display on 23rd showing citizens “how the City is prepared for an unusual emergency”. No details are provided as to the nature of this emergency so feel free to speculate. It’s unusual!
Golf Fest (come on, guys, it really should be Golfest…the tagline could be “Golf, Golfer, Golfest” HIRE ME) is also asking for an exception to the no-golfing rule in order to put on a PGA Tour member demo, driving balls across the river. Golfers with an eye to opportunity will note that they’re asking for an exemption to bylaw 7767 between the hours of 10 and 3 on July 2nd. Golf is a really funny word when you type it repeatedly.
Otto from 7th St E. got a parking ticket for not moving his car in 36 hours. They even tried to tow his car. This is only the second time I’ve seen or heard of someone getting their car towed for the 36 hour rule. For god’s sake, there was a truck on *blocks* last year on Spark. Stop towing Otto and go to Forest Grove!
Neale Hall, a serial letter-writer, just wants people to be nicer to homeless people. Me too, Neale.
Les Henry has conducted a study on salt and says that, per his research, there’s not enough salt in the water melting outside the Central Avenue snow dump to justify obeying the, uh, law and building an environmentally friendly dump site. He also mentions photos of garbage at the snow dump but sadly these are not included.
Boychuk Developments wants to put up a 6 foot fence 4 feet from the property line, 2 feet closer than allowed. This is in Rosewood, so who cares. (This may seem unusually harsh but remember we declared Rosewood to be universally meh? Well, I did, and I make the rules around here.)
James Polley from Allan’s Landscaping has a point regarding snow dump fees. Since everyone benefits when snow is dumped, presumably, he proposes having a dump fee levied as part of our taxes, not a user fee.
Olivia from King Crescent wants to be added into the parking permit program as she’s worried that the new RPP extension will result in people parking in front of her house. Since the streets weren’t originally designed to handle 2 ton vehicles with encellphoned drivers, it’s making her neighbourhood unsafe. I’d say the larger problem here is the poor street design, unsafe intersections, complacent motorists, high speed limits, a culture of entitlement and a lack of accountability, but what do I know? Killing people is an indictable offense, unless you do it in a car and say they jumped out in front of you. Give her a parking pass until you fix the larger problem, I guess.
Jim Reiter, minister for something, has a thing about the mill rate ratio thing that they’re doing to control RMs’ taxation in the name of small government or something. Blah blah tax fairness. Jim Reiter has an atrocious signature, bloated and convoluted with secretive loops, defensive arcades, and a partial obliteration of his last name.
Leo is writing in about UFC. He doesn’t like it, and as a member of a credit union, doesn’t want to support it. (Credit Union Centre wants to bring it in.) Having watched UFC, I’m inclined to agree with him; it’s not much of a sport. Boxing is about as violent as I get, and I even have issues with hockey now. I’ve just seen too many people with head injuries to regard it as entertaining. I still really like Olympic hockey, though.
Sharon Elder writes in reminding the City that they’re doing a scandalous job of clearing pathways and bike lanes/streets. Full disclosure: Sharon helps run the Bike Valet service and is involved with Saskatoon Cycles. The MUP she’s talking about runs along the north side of Attridge, but it’s safe to generalize to paths everywhere. The Stew Uzelman Pedestrian Bridge is especially fun these last few weeks – whatever’s not covered in gravel and grit is decorated with dog shit and garbage. Huzzah, spring.
Phil wants the City to clean up the bus mall, specifically the windows on the bus shelters. He’s right, if you treat transit facilities as second-class, transit riders will feel second-class and will be perceived as second-class. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if the city prioritized walkway/pathway cleaning as much as they did streets. I’m sure it would eventually result in a shift of perceptions, albeit after a veritable typhoon of invective. Perhaps this is the “unusual emergency” SPS is preparing for.
Novakoski is writing in about a proposed asphalt plant on 48th St E. As an autobody and paint repair place, grit and particulate in the air places an additional burden on their ventilation systems. (Nobody wants their car to be excitingly textured when they repaint it, apparently.) They then go on to list the toxic fumes emitted from asphalt plants, which concerns me as someone working 2 blocks from one. Which raises a larger question – how is ASL permitted to continue operations when it’s within blocks of residential areas on either side? As I understand it, the city wants to make the industrial area between 33rd and 42nd into a sort of lighter, industrial-park type thing, which doesn’t bode well for ASL’s current location. I agree, let’s boot ASL out of the city to a specific environmentally hazardous park. It’ll save 39th at any rate, which should cover the costs of cleaning up the site.
Roy Rodgers (I’d make a joke here but I bet he’s reeeeallll tired of hearing it) just wants the city to fix the main break properly the first time. They’re currently on water main break #4. He’s very polite.
Edward Danneberg is a busy man. He’s busy tabulating all the bus riders on the “terrible decision” that is the #3 Riversdale bus route. Specifically, the city changed the route to jog south of Schuyler St. for a block in order to graze the tip of the Saskatoon French School, on Wellington St.
He has written no less than four times to council in the last year, three of which were about the bus route. (The fourth was about the website. He was not in favour of it either. Here are his thoughts on the website: “Saskatoon does not need a state of the art “Las Vegas” website. Why not hire a good IT pro in-house for $60K a year? You’d be able to update it very nicely over time, add anything that comes up, update it daily and give someone a job for 10 years!!!!!!!!”) If I were Councillor Lorje, I would buy a cactus, name it Edward, and stick it outside in a snowbank all winter. All good councillors practice horticultural voodoo as a coping mechanism. Also, I would hesitate to use Las Vegas as an example of state-of-the-art.
Back to the ridership tally. He calculates that the number of people getting on has “NEVER” been more than five people at once. The cost of this route, he says, cannot be overstated. He then goes on to overstate the costs. Since this route change, sections of Avenue N have had to be repaved every year. Due to the overloaded buses.
Ashley is tired of people dumping garbage behind her dad’s house on Avenue X N. The latest indignancy is a couch. She’s a former councillor from Kindersley and is ashamed that council doesn’t take these sort of things seriously. This is the big city. When people dump large pieces of unwanted household items, we don’t call the city. We set up parody accounts on Twitter. Look for @AlleyCouch coming to the #yxe feed soon.
The Intergenerational Society of Canada (yes this is a thing, apparently) would like June 1st to be declared as Intergenerational Day.
The MS Society wants May to be declared as MS Awareness Month. Knowing several people with MS, every month should be MS Month. Especially since we have a disproportionate amount of people in Saskatchewan with this disease.
Sask Innovation Week wants October 21-26th declared as Innovation Week 2013. That’s right, the organization is called Sask Innovation Week. The message, they are on it.
June 12 is most likely going to be Filipino-Canadian Day, as I doubt Council will reject it.
June 2013 is Recreation and Parks Month. I am getting awfully tired of listing these requests. Fortunately there is only one more thing and it’s June 16th to 22nd as the 15th Annual Native Prairie Appreciation Week, which could mean any number of things but in this context it’s about ecosystems.
Oof, that’s it. Have fun tomorrow, kiddos. I am now taking bets on the most contentious issue.
Further to the Vantage Developments thing – they have some non-standard stuff in here. I’ll copy and paste it for your information.
1. That the Developer pay a proportionate share for the construction of a flyover interchange to be funded 50% by the owners, with the remaining 50% payable by the City.
2. The existing sanitary trunk sewer system for the neighborhood was originally designed to accommodate a lower flow rate. The Developer will pay a prorated share based on ownership multiplied by 15.61% of the total cost of construction for a remedial trunk sewer system to allow for the increased flow.
3. The Developer will pay a Transition Area Enhancement Levy that will provide funds for the development of the zone surrounding the wetlands in the Rosewood Neighborhood which will include a rebate if a supplemental funding source is secured prior to construction commencing.
4. The Developer is responsible to prepare independent high ground water studies and to carry out any remediation procedures that the consultant’s study and or City deem necessary.
5. The overall neighborhood will have many amenities that the Developer has agreed to cost share with other developers at the time of construction.
I wanna know what these “many amenities” are.
p.159 is a summary of various fees assessed to developers per metre. If you’re curious it comes to $2657.10 per front metre with an additional Storm Pond Dedication Charge of $3,718.85 per hectare and a Servicing Agreement Fee of $2,262.00 per agreement. Also there is the “Trunk Sewer Levy, Primary Watermain Levy, Lift Station Levy, Parks and Recreation Levy, and Community Centre Levy calculated at an area rate of 169 equivalent front metres per hectare. Area rate: 169 X $2,069.60 = $349,762.40 per hectare.”
Now we’re onto the first instance of the Administration and Finance report. Numero uno is the annual report from the Advisory Committee on Animal Control. Numero, uh, deux is the Saskatoon Environmental Advisory Committee’s annual report. Three is a request for sole-sourcing the radio network, fourth is a request for two half-ton trucks and a “trackless” snow plough. There is also a bit about the water and sewer inspection rate review, the “Pesticide Reduction Awareness Campaign”, and the feeble response to Charlie Clark’s 2009 request for street events. Oooh and the travel survey, the results of which will be an excellent political football. There’s also a bit about the bike tax, sorry, the dedicated funding for Active Cycling Infrastructure, also known as the Active Transportation Infrastructure Reserve. Oh and bus re-painting, 36 hour parking limits, and front-street garbage collection.
Only 5 orders for destruction were issued last year for dangerous dogs.
The SEAC report is depressing. It’s all stuff we should have been doing a bajillion years ago, like LEED buildings, storm-water management, alternative transportation policies and emissions reductions. The SEAC is like a small squeaky proto-mammal trying to change the direction of the petroliferous dinosaur that is Saskatoon. We all know how that story ended, so the current SEAC will be left to repopulate the world after we all die from lack of car.
Huh, the Parks Branch has been herbicide-free since 2004. I figure, if you wouldn’t spray it inside on your carpet, why put it outside on your lawn? I dunno about you guys, but this household is herbicide-free. I recommend it, but then I recommend not doing anything that is ultimately pointless and will cost you time and money to boot. Also, whatever happened to just pulling weeds?
Next is the Administration’s weaksauce response to Cllr Clark’s request for info about temporary closure of streets for bikes and walking, aka Ciclovias/Parkways/Open Streets. Portland, of course, has a Sunday Parkways program that goes once a month, on, uh, Sundays. (Some great pics in that link.) Vendors come out and sell food and drink, the cops keep the peace, and people who otherwise wouldn’t walk or bike come out for the day. Calgary also has Open Streets. Some cities in South America like Bogotá have massive ones where over 2 million people come out every Sunday to have fun – they even have free yoga and aerobics classes. (Bogotá has been doing this since the 70s.) It sounds like a great thing that doesn’t require a lot of investment, encourages active transportation and healthy lives, and increases the attractiveness of Saskatoon to tourists. None of which matters since the Administration has no money for them. However, they are “open to receive applications for street closures from organizers of Open Streets events” so let’s get on this, people. Oh, but not this year, as applications would have to be in before March 1st. Goddamn bureaucracy. The report was delegated to a traffic engineer-in-training, whiiiiich tells you how much your City actually cares about this sort of thing. I imagine Charlie Clark also has several dead cacti in his backyard as well. (When you read the Letters bit next you’ll know what I’m talking about.)
The transportation survey has been covered elsewhere at length but I’ll pick a couple things out. First, only 3,500 households are going to be surveyed. They’re also going to over-sample U of S students. Let me save them some money. Students want to get to campus juuuust before their first class starts and they want to leave campus juuuust after their last class ends. Having hour-long service intervals in the evening is unacceptable. Also they want convenient access to grocery stores and bars, with increased service to shopping districts on the weekends during the day. Not to mention better Sunday service to campus for studying at the library.
They’re also going to ask people out of town about their travel habits. Really? Is 3,500 a big enough sample size?
The Active Transportation reserve bit is depressing. Sadly I think it’s going to be the most debated in an otherwise lacklustre evening. One fun thing I learned is that you can call in and report delinquent sidewalks, something I plan on doing early and often. (I may or may not be on first-name basis with the Parking Enforcement people already.) There are also some platitudes about how the city encourages active transportation. See above Ciclovia rant.
Next part is about the repainting of DART buses. I’ve squawked about this elsewhere (ourYXE podcast, out tomorrow) but it appears I was wrong on a couple points. They’re not spending extra money to paint the green buses blue – it’ll just be part of the regular maintenance schedule. I wonder how often the buses do have to be repainted. Anyway, only 10% of people surveyed recognized a DART bus as being green (I had no idea and I ride semi-regularly) so there’s no real point in maintaining a separate fleet when buses are in short supply.
One thing that might also get a bit of debate is the 36 hour parking limit and/or the front-street garbage collection (scheduled to return back to ‘normal’ by May 18th.)
The A & F report is repeated again in here. I’d copy-and-paste my previous remarks but that seems unnecessarily cruel. My beef is with the agenda-maker, not you.
Executive Committee report. If I was organized, I’d do a mini-writeup when I read these when they come out (an extremely sarcastic thanks to Sean here.) The Executive Committee is all of the councillors so it’s just like a baby Council meeting. (In larger cities the Executive is more exclusive.) This exec agenda is mostly RFPs for advisors for the P3 project that is the bus barn/city yard development south of the besieged Montgomery community. They’re looking for a Financial and Business Advisor, a Legal Advisor, a Fairness Advisor, and an Owner’s Technical Advisor. This starts on p. 333 if you want to read it and tell me what’s involved. I just can’t brain this, apparently. Also I know the letters are next AND I have season 2 of Downton sitting on my coffee table, unwatched. You people don’t know how much I sacrifice in order to bring you this information.
All right. Those of you who know me know that I have been churning this over in my small febrile brain, ever since we witnessed that remarkable commentary from our esteemed Mayor that I subsequently transcribed. (Yeah, I’m not going to get tired of bragging about that, sorry.) We all know what he said. Now here’s what he should have said.
Thank you, Mr Jorgenson. With that, I’d like to personally apologize with how the City has handled this winter season. Back when we did the budget, we were certain we had a handle on what the citizens of Saskatoon wanted – we had a mandate to keep our tax rate low, we thought. Perhaps we could have been a little clearer on how that would have affected levels of service, but we don’t know since we didn’t do that. Now, with the recent feedback we have from our constituents, its become clear that maintaining a safe and adequate level of service is what Saskatonians really value.
Going forward, we’re going to see a new era here at city hall that’s focussed not on blame but results. And evidence-based decision making. (Pause.) We’re going to be more open with the citizens and make our decision making process as transparent as possible. I’d like to have in place a system where we can see everyone’s public schedules. I’d also like to see a flowchart outlining the decision-making process at city hall so people have faith that their concerns are getting to the right people. I’m also completely in favour of implementing a third party campaign overview of election finances and a lobbying registry. Also, our community associations are important connectors to everyday life in our neighbourhoods, so I’d like to see them involved with our consultation process. We should be talking to each other before the development gets planned, before we issue the RFP. That way, we’re not trying to convince people what we’ve already come up with is what they want and need. In order for us to lead effectively, we need to listen to what folks are telling us. (Points at self) I know, we’re tired of reading spiteful letters to council. Let’s put people first. Let them speak first at meetings, include everyone in as much as possible. There are ways of doing this and maintaining an effective system – let’s look at what other cities have done. In time, I think we’ll find those letters have decreased, and will be replaced with other letters expressing thanks, and hope, and optimism. It’s going to be a lot of work, and it’ll never be finished. I’m confident though, that we have the right people, right here in the great city of Saskatoon. (looks around, nods in approval.)
Possibly the hardest part about writing that was using the f-word, “folks”.
I initially started this post off as a letter to the mayor but it quickly got very shrill and accusatory. I mean, it’s hard to not get yelly when you have city employees and elected representatives called on the carpet to answer individually for systemic failure. I suppose it’s hard not to get yelly when everyone else is yelling at you as well, which is why I can understand why the mayor went off on a tangent in the first place. (The straw-man argument about the $600K was rather weak, though.) The snow removal debacle should have been an excellent opportunity for our leaders to start a bigger debate on taxes and the differing levels of service citizens expect from their government. Instead, we got a panicky all-hands-on-deck response, a flurry of pointed fingers, and an eventual reprieve granted by the weather. (The weather seems to be regretting it at this point.)
Speaking of civic engagement, Jane’s Walk is this weekend; there are several going on Saturday and Sunday. Like many, many people, I first became interested in municipal matters after finishing Jane Jacob’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities. I’ll be volunteering at the bike boulevard talk, the complete streets one (Alan Wallace!) and on Sunday, the North Downtown talk. I’ll be the person with the folding bike. I’ll try not to yell.
I am also posting things over at OurYXE along with a bunch of other cool people that you probably already know.
Transcribed from the April 8th meeting of Council. Full video can be found here; this bit starts at just after the 2-hour mark. I have some thoughts that I’ll post later this week. On leadership, and morale, and responsibility. Accountability. Boring shit like that.
Mayor Atchison: That being said, I don’t see other lights on. I guess I have a few comments of my own. I guess we’ll start with potholes first, and then we’ll work back. On, ah, the potholes, when you talk about fixing them – are you talking about ah, a zone or a ward area – There’s no point fixing one in, I’ll say, Ward A and then going to Ward Z across the river, you’re gonna try and fix — (pauses) —
Jeff Jorgenson: Yes, yes, Your Worship, it’s, um, when the supervisors have all of the information from the ratings, with their knowledge of the city and organizing work, they’ll look at the priorities, the priority, uh, repairs to make, and, ah, come up with a very smart plan for the day. They’ll get their crews off for the day, come back together, and make a plan for the next day, that’s the cycle that they’ll go on. Every day they’ll come up for the best plan for the following day, considering those maintenance [?] books.
Atchison: OK. I think, following up on that too, instead of just putting out daily press releases, the PSAs, those things – I think people at City Hall say ‘Well, we sent them out so we’ve done our job’. I don’t care anyone says [sic]. At election time, you don’t just send a brochure out. Last time I saw, most politicians knock on doors. Because they want to see people face-to-face. I think the same thing is true with the media. You need to hold press conferences. Live press conferences. You need to tell them either first thing in the morning or at 1.30 in the afternoon, what you’re doing today, what you’re doing tomorrow, or what you’re doing that day and all the way through. You need to hold live press conferences. (Tapping desk.) Sending out a piece of paper doesn’t cut it. People want to see – and they want to hear – in person, from the people who are delivering their services. They wanna be able to tell whether or not they’re being told something factual or not. They want someone else there to question, to be able to see exactly what’s happening. And that, I believe is the best way. By doing that, in person. And the media will tell you when they’re not interested in hearing about potholes anymore because they won’t show up. (nods, satisified.) Then you’ll know that we’ve got over the hill [sic]. And we’re on the right side of the track. I think that’s the easiest way to do that.
Now, to do with, ah, the snow this past year. I keep on hearing about, ‘if we had spent $600,000 more’. The bottom line, I still haven’t heard the answer yet. (Grows heated.) If we spent $600,000, the interpretation is that the streets would be all the same everywhere, that we wouldn’t have rutting anymore, that we’d be down to the asphalt. The bottom line is, I wanna know – is that true or not? Today, right now, if you’d spent $600,000 this year, additional dollars, would everyone in the city of Saskatoon be driving on asphalt? Yes or no.
Atchison: (curt nod) (pauses) Thank you. (pauses.) That’s what I wanna know. Because, quite frankly, we’ve put in $800,000 additional funding this year, when we had the surplus we put in an additional $700,000, and we also said, that we were going to look at this coming year again, that we’d look at additional funding for the following year. (Gets angry.) I think some people have a short memory in council. Do you remember when we were going through the budget process, we kept on talking about what the number was going to be, what the increase was going to be at Council. I heard one councillor talking about eight, nine, or even ten percent increase in property taxes, and all of a sudden there was this (audible gasp) “Oooh! They can’t be serious!” I heard on the other side some people were saying “I don’t want any more than two or three percent.” So we had to make compromises. We had to deal with what was there. At the end of the day, I think almost everyone on council voted for 4.99%. I didn’t hear before the final vote came anyone standing up and saying, “I am not supporting 4.99% because I want $600,000 more in the budget.” Please, correct me if I’m wrong. (Enunciates slowly.) Because, I don’t believe I heard that from anyone.
What I heard from everyone in this room was, there was some very difficult decisions to be made. And they’re decisions that not everybody wanted to make. By the same token, we had to come to a conclusion. And what was that conclusion going to be. Well, we said, we can’t afford to have everything this year, but we’ll certainly look at additional funding next year for snow removal. Some of us wanted to have even more funding for road repairs this year – we said, we’ll look at more for next year. Other people wanted to look at having more in the way of looking after lands in the city of Saskatoon. Looking after homes. Looking after the, ah, lead pipes in the city. Looking at after [sic] all the infrastructure. (Petulant) And everyone sat around the table, and everyone said, “We have to come to some type of compromise.” And if I remember correctly, at the end I said “It’s the Canadian way. Not everybody got what they wanted, but we can live with what we have.” (pauses) We did put more money into snow removal. We did put more money into road repairs. And they said we’re going to continue to look at it this coming year.
But after the vote’s been taken, and if everyone says well “I knew it was going to be this way”, well, anybody who says “I knew it was going to be this way”, I wanna hear – before we do the budget next year – I wanna hear how many snowfalls are going to be in the city of Saskatoon for the next year, I wanna hear how much snow there is going to be, and I wanna know what type of weather conditions we’re going to have. (Stabs desk with index finger.) Because I think it’s painfully unfair to look back, and say to the rear-view mirror, with hindsight, 20/20, “I told you so”. (looks around, accusatory.) It’s not fair for anyone on Council to say that. Because we tried hard to come up with a budget that we all believed we could live with. And when we left that night I think most people thought we did a pretty good job in this room. And so when we’re talking about these things, I look at our employees. They feel the pain too right now. Ask them, ask the employees that are putting in 80 hours a week right now. Ask them if they were home with their families during the Easter period of time. Ask them where they were. Ask them why they’re only working 80 hours. Because Health – Occupation Health and Safety [sic] says you can’t work more than 80 hours. Because it isn’t safe to do so. Yet they’re out there doing their level best. I think of the snow this year. Councillor Lorje says it’s almost six months, so if you look at the calendar, we’ve had snow in the last seven of twelve months. The meteorologist today said, they didn’t believe we were going to hit +10 until at least April the twenty-first. (looks around) We could still have snow on May 1st in the city of Saskatoon. We don’t know what lies ahead. If the weatherman can’t be right in five days, how are you supposed to be right within a year.
(Speaking slowly, pausing at the end of each sentence to look around with concerned expression for emphasis.) So, at this time, I wanna thank the Administration ever so much, for coming forward tonight, and informing Council, but more importantly, to inform the citizens of Saskatoon. I think the citizens of Saskatoon are entitled to hear exactly what’s going on in this community, and they’ve heard it. And when we’re continuing to go forward now with potholes, I hope we’re going to follow the same procedure of daily press conferences, letting them know exactly what we’re going to do, where we’re going to be, and so that way, we have the information out there for everyone. Not everyone has a computer; not everyone has a television. So hopefully we can get to the ends [?] sooner rather than later. Councillor Hill, you had your light on. [hits switch, but Hill's mike fails to go on.]
Councillor Hill: Ah, thank you Your Worship. Mr Gutek, I’d just like to clarify. At any point did you hear me say that I thought one residential street clearing would bring us down to bare asphalt conditions, when I asked you the question this evening?
Mike Gutek: Um, no.
Hill: Thank you. And, to clarify, I asked you, if it would have made a difference, in the rutting. Now you indicated that it would have removed parking and had larger windrows, but our discussions at budget time were based on strategically placing snow which would not have removed all of our parking – we would have placed snow into strategic clumps, places you talked specifically about a house that may have 2 or 3 parking stalls in front may end up with one, cause we were going to follow through with bobcats. So I just wanna be clear. Movement of snow at one course of the winter may have changed the conditions. We don’t know that, because we didn’t do it. So we can’t say that it would or it wouldn’t. It may have changed the conditions, because if you take some of that packed snow off, the total amount of that packed snow, there’s less to create ruts at the end of the day. So I just wanna clarify that nobody said we’d be at asphalt conditions.
With respect to ‘communications’ and ‘moving forward’, I think that we’ll need to have a discussion, ahm, either in chambers now or in executive, the plan brought forward for communications. I don’t think the media is going to come out with a press release every day. However, some municipalities are doing thing quite strategically and creatively, their Public Works branch are doing daily updates via live feed, as well as taped video, which the media is using that as they see appropriate, and they also play it on their local cable channel, on a regular looped basis. They do that for their Public Works, as well as for their transit updates. It’s very effective. I think we need to look at an entire communications strategy, not a one-off just looking into ruts or potholes as we move forward.