“This Proposal Helps De-concentrate the Supply of Affordable Housing in Saskatoon” What is wrong with the word “diffuse”? Disperse, expand, disseminate, spread, distribute, decentralize, all perfectly good words.

Still something bothering me about the Innovative Residential thing. The developer makes a lump sum payment for the down payment, which is applied against the property taxes. Also the 5% down payment “incentive”, aka loan, is covered by the province (1%), the city (1%) and the developer (3%). The city’s portion will be recovered through the redirection of property taxes back into the Affordable Housing Reserve. It seems like the developer is being unusually altruistic here.

OK, after some Googling, from what I can gather you pay back that tax sponsorship, if that is what the lump sum is, over eight years. In addition to your mortgage payment as well as the repayment of your down payment loan. Innovative also has a section on its website called “Why Trust Us?” which, hmm.

Anyways, all you need to know about banking can be learned from a children’s book. “But he has to pay more when he buys on credit. The longer it takes him to pay for what he bought, the more he will have to pay.”

Just an aside here. I was reading up on the Charter (this is how I spend my free time, people) and I hadn’t realized what a massive deal it was for the Sask gov’t to invoke the notwithstanding clause for that labour dispute in the 80’s.

p. 133 is a sideways pic of what the townhouses will look like. I suppose the “Innovative” part comes from the financing, not the architecture. (tiny sigh.)

p. 136 is more “affordable housing”. No. This is not affordable. Affordable is 3x your yearly household income. This is a farce. This particular farce is located in Hampton Village (or Hackton Swillage, as it is fondly known in some areas of Twitter) on Richardson & McClocklin. Oddly enough they are the exact same prices as Stonebridge and…[scrolls down] yup, same houses exactly. They’ve tried to fool me by flipping the photo the other way, but I have excellent spatial skills. At least these ones will include 2 barrier-free ones. Is it just me or do you think that all new housing should be set up for wheelchairs? I can only imagine how difficult it is to rent or buy while you have mobility aids. It would enable people to stay in their houses longer, not to mention those who for whatever reason, need a wheelchair at some point in their lives. (Also, it  means you can easily get your bikes and/or stroller in and out of the house, huzzah.) Pro-sprawl people are fond of saying we have a lot of space here so we may as well spread out. How much bigger does an accessible house have to be, really? Rise to the challenge, developers. Surprise me.

p. 139 states that this is “not contributing to an over-concentration of affordable housing”. Well, that’s true. It’s not affordable. If it was, using income range specified by the program, prices would be around $180,000, tops. The 3x yearly household income isn’t some rando figure pulled out of a statistician’s…calculator. Trends in credit-card debt, household spending, and food-bank usage would tend to support my argument, I think. Sorry, I’ll stop being all Garth Turner over in here and move on.

p 145 is the vacant spot in the Field House. (Massage therapy tenant vacated.) I think it’s missing a paragraph or so where it actually explains what the SCOA stands for and that the Administration recommends their proposal. It just jumps abruptly from the description of the tender’s evaluation points to a glowing review of the SCOA’s activities. I know, it’s the Saskatoon Council on Aging, but I want to be told this, dammit. Also, the Fieldhouse is really only accessible by car unless they’ve decided to plough a path out to the windswept bus shelters along College. (If Saskatoon doesn’t have its act together by the time I need a walker, I’m moving out. That’s an ultimatum.)

p. 149 is more Friends of the Bowl stuff, which I am not following that closely. I only have so much time, people. There seems to be an inordinate amount of paperwork associated with this, though, so be prepared if a conflict-of-interest or other scandals arise with money. I’m not going to bother to explain my reasoning on this.

Time to dust off the old graphology book and look at the chairperson’s signature on p. 156. He doesn’t much care for his family’s history or possibly his father, and prefers to stand on his own efforts. Also a bit tense or possibly angry; is more concerned with future desires, intellectual pursuits or other matters of the superego; and possibly has an inflated sense of self, although much less than your average politician. Still fairly rational, although not a quick thinker, and less open to new ideas. If you know Bryan Kosteroski, feel free to confirm or deny the accuracy of this. If you are Bryan Kosteroski…hiiii. Graphology is an inexact discipline. Like, er, phrenology.

It costs the city $348,480 to lease 120 golf carts for four years. This is the lowest bid. Not being a fan of golf carts (golf is barely enough exercise as it is), I’d just chop that out and save the City some money. Have at me, if you care, why golf carts are an indispensable asset to playing golf.

Sometimes I think the City would make more money if they switched all the courses to walking-only and used some of the leftover money to make the world’s biggest bumper car rides. Because, admit it, that’s what you really want to do with golf carts, get drunk and drive like an ass. (It is also an indisputable fact that bumper cars and the swings are the best rides at the fair. Worst ride is a tie between the Hurricane and the Cobra, but mostly because I went on the Cobra with an unfastened safety bar.) Not to mention if you actually like golf, the removal of the hoonage element would add to your enjoyment.

p. 163 is the report of the Administration and Finance Committee. I will note here that the titles and headings are in Helvetica (yay) while the body text is in Arial (what). Just do it all in Helvetica! Much nicer to read! Kerned properly! Attractive letterforms! In this report: changing environmental regulations in Saskatchewan, Myles Heidt’s enquiry about side boulevards on 33rd, the Preston Ave corridor review (AHOY ROUNDABOUTS), the lease renewal for a city owned space on 325 3rd Ave N, and that’s it.

p. 172 is the start of a chapter-by-chapter analysis of the proposed changes in the Environmental Code. Since I am not up on the latest developments, I will leave this up to the Saskatchewan Environmental Society to critique. While it is heartening to note that the City is usually more progressive than other levels of government, I am thinking that our current provincial and federal governments discuss the environment in terms of resources to be gained rather than stewardship for the future. That was an awkward sentence.

What? “Recovery Park is a facility being developed adjacent to the Landfill including a ‘Take-It or Leave-It’ household item reuse centre, recycling depot, and processing areas for soil, stone, bricks, concrete, asphalt, wood, metal, drywall, and glass.” Huh. I thought this sort of thing was too much of a liability for the city. I mean, the first two R’s of the “Three R’s” are often ignored but caution must be exerted when considering items of a household nature. Bricks I could care less about since we’re not suffering from a brick-bug infestation.

p. 175 is a flashback to 2007, involving parking on 33rd, turn lanes and the widening between Confed and Idylwyld of the aforementioned street. That was also poorly-worded. Mayfair Hardware requested in 2007 a 2-hour parking restriction (what? they don’t have this already along that strip??). Anyways on a separate note, the esteemed Cllr Heidt asked to have the boulevard removed to add another lane which would ensure safety between Idylwyld and Confed on 33rd.

So, breakdown: there are currently parking restrictions during rush hour along 33rd, from Avenue F eastwards to Idylwyld; it would cost 3-4 million just for the construction to add extra lanes. So, all things included, it would be over 7 million bucks to widen 33rd to 4 lanes plus two lanes parking, not including the cost of buying and tearing down buildings that would be in the way. Whee! So the City estimates a 17% increase in traffic volumes near Idylwyld and 36% increase near Confed, but only during rush hours and so therefore only in one direction.

The dilemma here is: do we pay upwards of 7 million dollars in order to widen 33rd like the atherosclerotic channel it is, or do we ban people from their God-given right to park on the street and turn left? Clearly the pinkos at City Hall are against free enterprise and the market, since they do not recommend it. They want us all to ride the Commie bus system, obviously. What’s next? Making us stop at crosswalks?

p. 178. It’ll cost $130,000 for the fascists to ban left-hand turns at Avenue D and parking along 33rd during rush hour. Outrageous! Demand that the city spend an additional $6,870,000 to make 33rd the pulsating highway of freedom! Protest your right to travel unimpeded along a motorway* by parking on it!

*I am rather certain you do not have a right to travel unimpeded along a motorway in your vehicle. You do have a right to travel by foot, I think. Perhaps I have been reading too many American websites lately. Anyways, it’s ironic that the state can’t take away your right to travel by foot – but block it at every opportunity and fine you for jaywalking. While cars, which are a privilege to operate, are granted preferential access and privileges, resulting in a car-centric society. If you had a right to travel unimpeded in your car, a lot of cops and stop-signs would be getting sued. Not to mention trains. This is as close as I’m getting to commenting on the Idle No More blockades. Excuse me, these shirts aren’t going to tie-dye themselves.

p. 180 is a schematic of 33rd, obviously drawn up by an engineer. Come on, you guys. Illustrator is much better for this than AutoCAD. I’d redraw it much nicer but then I’d want some money in exchange. It’d be nice to not qualify for the “affordable” housing anymore.

p. 182 are some pictures of traffic conditions. If you have to take 33rd daily this makes for a great hate-read.

p. 183 is a full list of What Will Be Done on 33rd. Of note is an active pedestrian corridor which just teaches motorists than a crosswalk without a light can be safely ignored.

p. 184 is Preston Avenue Redux. Main, Taylor, and 7th are highlighted as priorities; upgrades will cost approx. $1.15 million; funding will only be available for Preston and Main for 2014 – everything else will have to wait.
p. 185 is the traffic composition of Preston. It is 98% cars and light trucks. This is why I do not take motorists seriously who kick and scream at any chance taken by the City to adjust the playing field in favour of buses and people afoot or on bikes. The playing field isn’t tilted, it’s goddamn vertical. And the City is just shaving away at it with a blunt dinner knife. (I suspect I am preaching to the choir here.)

p. 185 also has the summary of modifications.

  • The barrier on 14th will be replaced with a concrete island;
  • Main St intersection will get a (single-lane) roundabout;
  • The median opening between Main and 8th will be closed (THANK ODIN);
  • 7th will also get a roundabout;
  • Taylor will get a facelift, including left turn lanes and arrows;
  • Adelaide will get a full traffic signal (A THOUSAND TIMES YES).

Incidentally a full traffic signal costs $130,000, at least at the Adelaide intersection. This is more than the city spends on bike infrastructure city-wide. I’m just gonna downgrade that dinner knife to a, well, a something that’s less sharp. A hammer? Marbles?

Oh goody, there will be a public hearing on the closure of the median between Main and 8th Street. I am attending that in high dudgeon. As for the roundabouts, I am reserving judgement on that. Experience at the two located north of Alice Turner library has shown me that pedestrians and cyclists are not very safe in these locations. However, left-hand turning motorists also display little respect for those of us unfortunate enough to use the crosswalks.

p. 193 is the report of the Audit committee. Some out-of-scope work by Deloitte needs to be approved. Other boring and hopefully non-controversial documents follow considering salient points of the library and transit audits.

p. 203, report of the Executive Committee. A committee reappointment, and a funny thing titled Delegation of Head Duties, in which the Mayor abdicates – whoops, delegates, his duties as “Head” under the FOIP act, or whatever they call it, to someone else, so he can attend parties.

p. 205. Purchase of additional land for the Land Bank program – approximately a quarter section for 2 million dollars. Nice work, boys. This reminds me of 2007, when I knew people eager to buy into a consortium that was gobbling up land outside Calgary, to be sold inevitably at a much higher rate as the city expands. There’s a drawing on p. 209 if you’re interested. It’s also where the perimeter highway will go. (they say “will”, not me.)

Communications to Council! We are at them. I’m going to edit this hastily and post it, then carry on.

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