Here we go, December 10th. I’m all coked up on Advil Cold & Sinus (pseudoephedrine represent) so this will be fun. (Note, I do actually have a sinus headache/cold, I am not just taking it for the stimulant. I did that once and it was Not Fun.)

We start off with some zoning proposals before descending into madness (I’ve read through this already. Oh what lies in wait.)

The College Quarter is moving along briskly, with some proposed zoning bylaw amendments to make the erstwhile soccer fields Direct Control Districts. I’m actually somewhat excited to see what they do here, as it’ll be a model of a walkable community with street-level shops and accommodations above. There’s also those proposed models of a land bridge floating around over College and Cumberland so that will be fun to use if they go through with it.

We also have the notices of the City’s “intent to borrow” which may be a sore point with some citizens. There’s also a bit about the debenture bylaw, exciting only to accountants, lawyers, and the most hacky of municipal wonks (yours truly not included.)

p 16. Habitat for Humanity wants to build some 4-plexes around Pleasant Hill, to the consternation of neighbours. They have to get some re-zoning in there. Anyways, the lot in question has been on the market an awful long time so Habitat is using this as a wedge. The neighbours are concerned about parking and the units being converted to rentals.   The next several pages outline the results of the community meeting as well as some diagrams. Fun fact: the Habitat housing cannot be rented out; if you want to sell it you have to give Habitat right of first refusal before you put it on the market, and only three families have sold their Habitat houses since house prices started going up. Seriously, if you’re going to have infill in your area, having Habitat for Humanity doing it is not the worst thing.

p. 49 goes deeper into what is involved with the Direct Control District 7, aka the College Quarter. It sounds delightful and they may just manage to make it work despite themselves. The nice thing about having a university in your town means you can (sometimes) carry out experiments in good urban planning like this with little impact on existing neighbourhoods. Don’t fuck this up guys. I’m counting on you to do the 25th St. infill properly as well, since I don’t want to live in duplex hell forever.

Also there is something of particular interest to me, as a Visual Arts BFA holder from this august institution. (That’s with Great Distinction, thank you very much. It’s all I have to assuage my scraps of pride, that and possibly being in Darren Hill’s top ten favourite people on Twitter.) There’s a planned art gallery and theatre going into this area, somewhere. I’ve always wondered why the arts here gets so underfunded on campus considering we have a thriving arts scene (well, depending on who you ask) in Saskatoon. Not to mention the whole Emma Lake thing which is depressing.

p. 74 Yeah! They’re setting out minimum bike parking regulations! (1 spot per 150 sq m.) Also every building over 1000 sq m in size must provide enclosed, secure bike parking with changing and shower facilities. Bike spots must be 10% of the number of vehicle parking spaces required. Progress. This is what it smells like. (Clean bodies.) Although I have a feeling that the 10% number will prove to be too low.

p. 81 Barb Hayes, a resident in the neighbourhood, is concerned about increased traffic in the area, mostly the left-hand turn at Cumberland and 14th. Eh, I’m not so worried about this. University students are not known for their high rates of car ownership, and it’s pretty dumb to have a car and drive it to school when you live across the street. Although, hearing the horror stories that I have last week (people driving 1 block to work) I shouldn’t put too much faith in the collective wisdom of people. Build it and they will manage to fuck it up somehow, I say.

p. 90 is some rezoning down in the alphabet streets south of 20th for Juniper Housing Corp. Extra parking for their care home down there.

One note that I will make here – Transit likes to put in where the closest bus stop is, and the frequency thereof. If the City increases the frequency of buses after 5 pm, it would be much more attractive to those of us who work during normal business hours. (Current practice is every 30 min during the day and every 60 min after 6 pm.) Witnessing the clusterfuckery that is downtown now after 5 pm as well as on the weekends, I would say that there is some pent-up demand here. When even pre-booked cabs are an hour late, the bus starts looking rather attractive.

p. 115 is a list of what projects for which the City intends to borrow money. Then we have the terms for the debentures.

 p. 125 is the schedule of Principal and Interest Payment.

p. 127 is the report of the Municipal Planning Commission. Sadly, I did not get my act together this year and apply for a position on it. Evergreen is getting some more density, if the Council approves it.

Some rezoning applications (addresses are listed here, if you’re curious; maps are on p. 155.)

p. 140 is some proposed Names to be added to the Naming List.

p. 143 – someone wants to lease part of the boulevard on Avenue D North. I believe Jordon Cooper is on this, if you’re interested. They want to set up a “children’s play area”, which, looking at the current street layout, is baffling. Also it is a 4-plex? I suppose if something doesn’t make sense, you don’t know the entire story.

p. 146 is the proposed red-light camera for 33rd and Idylwyld.

p. 147 concerns the landfill gas project. The consultants need their contract extended.

p. 155 are maps of proposed rezoning as outlined earlier.

p. 167. We’re back to the red-light cameras. Other intersections being considered for cameras are 22nd & Diefenbaker, 8th and Acadia, 22nd and Idylwyld, College & Preston, and Central & Attridge.

p. 172 has a list of who gets to be Deputy Mayor. I think the Deputy Mayor should have to wear a party hat during council meetings so we know who it is. (I know, they change seats, but this is more fun.) We can give the other councillors kazoos so they don’t feel left out. This, along with the tweet wall, will vastly improve citizen engagement and camaraderie.

p. 173 is the start of the City Solicitor’s report. It includes proposed increases in graveyard fees at Woodlawn Cemetery, the landfill rate review, and the recycling program implementation, among other things.

p. 178 is the cost of being buried in Saskatoon, in case you’d like to start setting money aside. If you change your mind, it’s $1700 to have a standard casket disinterment, so make sure you’ve made the right decision. Also try not to die in the winter, you’ll save $95.

p 183 is the amended waste bylaw that incorporates recycling. Most of my neighbours have violated all of these at least once in the preceding 4 years with regards to garbage disposal. I do not have high hopes for the subsequent recycling brouhaha. Whoops, I have left our garbage and/or recycling bin on the street for more than 24 hours, so I’m in no position to judge. (Happily I will judge anyways.)

p. 190 is the increase in dump fees. If you’re wondering why people aren’t allowed to just go and dig through the refuse and pick out what they like, the charge for asbestos is $24 per bag. Also it’s 10 bucks a pop for leaving poor old Fido’s carcass there and $20 for dropping off Bossy or Mr Ed.

p. 193 has an outline of everything allowed in your recycling cart. If Loraas is doing this the same way, you’ll get a pamphlet outlining thoroughly what you can and cannot throw out. You can recycle an awful lot, to the point where our recycling bin goes out every month at least and our garbage bin might get dragged to the street every 2-3 months. [end smugness transmission]

p 196 is about changes in the rates of either sewer or water delivery. Not sure and too lazy to find out. Live in despair of your next utility bill!

 p. 199 is other changes to fees (miscellaneous). This reminds me, I should probably pay my power bill on time. It’s not that I lack the money, I just lack the organizational skills.

p. 207 is the change in transit fares.

p. 209 is the Planning and Operations Committee report. Covered: impound lot fee proposed increase, youth sport subsidies, and the 3-year land development program.

p. 225 is the list of youth sports subsidies being handed out, in case you’d like something to judge. Swimming and skating/hockey are the big money-makers. Oh wait, youth soccer got $228,308.98, second place to minor hockey at $688,340.88. This is where I’d like to point out correlations in investment in a sport and outcomes. Canadians aren’t genetically better at hockey, we just spend a metric fuckton on it.

Line 34 is somewhat puzzling. It says ‘New Applicant – Ineligible’ – and lists the balance funds at $9218, the same as the approved subsidy.

There’s some more charts of special events funding, blah blah, so if you are involved in this area you might want to check it out.

p. 232 is the report on how the developments are ticking along, comparing it to different population growth scenarios. We are in the unusual bit of expanding on several fronts at once, as well as desultorily filling in the middle. This is interesting. Evergreen and the Hamptons are almost finished the servicing phase, and the Holmwood, Blairmore, and University Heights sector plans are set to be approved next year. This Council: getting things done, whether they like it or not.

p. 237 is the start of the report.

Hm, while permits and starts are increasing exponentially, employment and the participation rate have dropped. Granted, the population has also increased during this time.

The estimated growth rates vary from 2% all the way up to 4%. One thing is apparent from this, if there is any sort of serious slowdown in the economy, Saskatoon is going to be overextended. Of course, if growth exceeds expectations, Saskatoon is going to be not very fun. At any rate, I’m glad I’m not in charge of making these decisions.

p. 252 has an outline of the Land Bank as well as a mini-history of its operations. One nice thing about having a city-owned land bank is that the city has more control over growth, and that smaller developers and builders can buy lots as easily as large ones. Without the Land Bank, we’d have a couple big developers doing what they want, with smaller home builders relegated to infill or renovations. Having a few large developers would also reduce competition.

p. 258 is some visualizations of the three-year development plan, with maps of all neighbourhoods currently planned and/or undergoing construction.

p. 270 is the administration and finance committee report. It includes the Energy and Greenhouse Gas Reduction 2012 annual report; this starts on p. 274. This is longer than I thought. It outlines every step the City is taking to reduce emissions, which is both admirable and at the same time not nearly enough. All it takes, in a union (or any workplace environment, really) are a few toxic employees who mock or bully initiatives such as this and cause them to fail. I’m not going to get into this since it’s not really my area of expertise, save that I like thinking about how you could change an entrenched culture within a bureaucracy. If you come in from outside, you run the risk of entrenching resentment; from the inside you may not be taken seriously.

Wow some of these initiatives I was totally not aware of. Needs some more advertising, I think. Carpooling? Xeriscaping workshops? Hey, wait, some of these are not run by the city, they are run by other groups (hopefully receiving money from the city.)

p. 306 is the report of the Audit committee. Audit plan attached.

p. 309 is the Naming Advisory Committee report. Of special interest to me is that Georgie Davis and Joe Kuchta are up for consideration. Owls and Roosters is what first piqued my interest in municipal politics.

OK, I am going to take a nap break here. I picked up a bug somewhere on campus yesterday (not tuberculosis, one hopes) and this is having a negative impact on my energy level. I’ve got most of the rest written up, but I need to go back through the needle exchange bit and delete about 90% of my frothing.

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