Archives for posts with tag: agenda

“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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Whoops,  I now realize that the 1.2 million for the bridge is for the consulting, not the actual repairs! Don’t rely on me for information, people.

Some highlights from the dog owners’ survey:

Sutherland Beach is the most popular (47%) with Avalon second (44%). Then it’s Briarwood and Silverwood at 18%, 9% Hampton Village, and 9% at other OLRAs. Um, what other OLRAs are there in the city? There’s Chief Whitecap…and Montgomery, but that’s closed. I’ll paraphrase Mitch Hedberg here and say “Every area is an off-leash area if your dog is off the leash!”

11% of respondents said they used the OLRAs daily.

45% of people who don’t use OLRAs cite dog conflicts as their main concern. Cleanliness is second, at 28%.

p. 85 is a poorly-reproduced quadrant graph of responses.

45% of people want more OLRAs with less amenities; 25% of people want a better level of service at the current parks instead. 58% of non-users don’t care either way. Looks like the city can’t do much to entice the non-users in, unless there’s a way to effectively enforce dog behaviour or keep poorly-socialized and -trained dogs out.

p. 87 is the list of contracts awarded valued at $50K to 75K for all you deficit hawks.
Wait, $58K for a “compact sedan” from Merlin Ford Lincoln? Also, 62K for chairs for the police.

p.88 is a list of the business-friendly initiatives.

Report of the Planning and Ops committee on p. 89.
First up is an enquiry from Cllr Lorje about the cell phone tower application process. I’m no fan of the “stealth” towers they put up that just come in under the height required to host a community consultation. They’re ugly, but what’s more, I don’t like it when people game the system like that. They knew the towers wouldn’t be popular. Sneaking in under the height limit by a few inches is cheap and disrespectful, and doesn’t foster good relations between the telecoms and communities. It’s like being put in your crate and told you’re going to the park, and you show up outside the vet for your teeth cleaning. Sure, it’s good for you and will increase your wellbeing (or level of service in this analogy) but you’re still angry about being duped. Much better to be upfront about the situation in the first case, rather than take the choice away.

Or, you can relish the fact that there are now several Festivus poles in this fair burg, a small step towards declaring Festivus as the official winter holiday.

Looks like there’s going to be a bit about the 20th St West streetscape improvement, the mortgage flexibilities support program, rental space in the Field House, more Friends of the Bowl, and a tender for golf cart leasing.

p. 95. So, more on the cell phone tower application process. Fun fact: the City is not the approving authority for antenna systems in Saskatoon. The federal government is responsible for approving your local brand-new monopole. The city admin is proposing a new clause: new towers under 15 m and less than 30 m from a dwelling require public consultation. (>15 m and >200 m do not, >15 m and <200 m do, currently. The new monopoles are slightly under 15 m.) So, right now, Industry Canada can plop a pole as close to your property as they want and are not required to consult you unless it’s over 15 m. I suppose your consolation would be that you have excellent cell service.

Adding antennas to existing poles or on the tops of buildings are exempt from consultation still. Riverbanks are also exempt from monopole infestation.

At any rate, this has to go through talks with Industry Canada as well as telecoms, so we’re just seeing the beginning of this. The new clause would require they pay a fee to the city for the public consultations, so I can see it being contentious.

p. 102 is a list of what other cities do re. free-standing antenna consultations. Move to Calgary, people, any height of pole there within 100 m requires a public consult.

p. 103 is the legalese for the proposed policy.

p. 116 is the 20th St streetscaping update between avenues E and H, the next phase of gentrification for everyone’s favourite street.

Another fun fact: the 20th St Special Area Plan was started in 1991. I look forward to when Central is the shining centre of our city, in 2036.

If you’re curious about what is involved with the streetscaping, it starts on p. 117. Bog-standard stuff, really, new lights and corner bulbs aka bike traps, garbage bins, the lot.

p. 123 is a hilarious visualization of what the street will look like. It’s funny because there are cars stopped for crosswalks.

p. 125 is the reserve sufficiency worksheet, for the number-crunchers in our midst.

p. 126 is a summary of the open house comments. I’m going to be bold here and say there’s a lot of guff from residents about the lack of bike lanes. This is the problem I have with the open houses sometimes: it’s great that the city hosts a lot of forums, but the feedback is often sanitized and separated from the “official plan”. There’s no mention of bike lanes on 20th in the streetscape improvements either. I went to the Central one a couple of years ago and was similarly disappointed. MUPs (shared pathways) are not bike lanes and I don’t enjoy or prefer using them since they come with frequent modal conflict.

p. 127. yup, there it is, separated bike lanes even. What can I say, I am a single-issue voter. Also some good points about bus shelters and debate over benches.

p. 128. Affordable housing going in at Stonebridge! Let the pitchfork-sharpening commence. If you’re going to come at me for making fun of NIMBYs and that I wouldn’t want “those people” living near my house, keep in mind I qualify for this program. I am the beast which you fear!

Hm. There’s something a bit off about this but I can’t put my finger on it.

“During its June 28, 2010 meeting, City Council approved the Tax Sponsorship Program in partnership with Innovative Residential Inc. Under this program, the developer makes a lump sum payment to the City that is credited to the homebuyer’s property tax account over a number of years, making the home more affordable for low-income purchasers.”

Concerned Stonebridgians will be relieved or horrified to find out the 56 units will be installed on Victor & Hunter Road.

What! $200K for 760 square feet in Stonebridge? 3 bedrooms for $260K to start? I realize pearl-clutching over home prices in Saskatoon is very old hat by now but every once in awhile my skin is thinned. Also these are “modular” meaning that they’ll be built in three months. The whole thing in three months. I spent longer building snow forts as an adult. Er, child.

p. 130. Actually wait, I do not qualify for this since I don’t have dependents, aside from plants. Hi people. Here is your house that costs more than 4x your yearly income. And your loan for the downpayment. Enjoy being a homeowner! It is the noblest of aspirations.

p. 130 states that the average sale price of a dwelling in our fair southern neighbourhood is $404,665.

All right, I am going to leave it there. It is time for a ritual all good Saskatonians observe, a Sunday brunch. I’ll format it later, you guys will just have to suppress your eye twitches for a couple hours.

I especially like the last slide of the PowerPoint for the Multi-Unit Dwelling Recycling Program. “We Want To Hear From You!” I bet you do.  As you read this, City employees are out buying Naproxen in bulk in anticipation of the public consultations. (I buy Naproxen in bulk. Thank god the Conservatives relaxed that one restriction; it makes dealing with everything else slightly more tolerable.)

p. 126 is my old friend, the Equity Building Program. As I have outlined in a poorly-written and -edited post elsewhere on this “blog”, this is a, well I want to say “stupid” but I’m working on being an ableist-free space here so I’ll say “unfortunate”, idea. I won’t get into it here but the gist is we’re enabling zero-down mortgages with City financing for marginally qualified homeowners. If you still don’t see why that’s a problem, the Globe and Mail is doing a spiffing job of busting the Canadian real estate market’s chops in a recent multi-part series. At the risk of turning into, er, Garth Turner here, the city has now removed the ceiling on the house price, placing the onus squarely on the banks, who are busy passing the buck to CMHC, which is, haha surprise, backed by the government. Technically it is part of the government but whatever. Anyways let’s all hope I’m terribly wrong on this one.

p. 127. Ehrenburg Homes (“The Castle Company”) is planning to build some rental units (yay) in Evergreen (muted yay). For this they get a tax break and judging glares from the neighbours who may or may not exist yet.

p. 130 is a longer bit from the Equity Building Program where they’re complaining about the new mortgage rules making it harder to qualify for said program. RED FLAG hello here it is. The answer here is to provide more affordable housing not affordable financing. Because when interest rates go up the affordable financing is possibly not so affordable anymore. Now I really know how Garth Turner feels. (I don’t.) Anyways if you want to tell me how wrong I am feel free to do so on Twitter. If you think I am right we can go to a partisan-free bar of your choice where you can buy me a hefeweizen and/or a rye and ginger. Fortunately the City is only on the hook for 3 mil if this plan fails. (“If” ahahaha). Now that I’ve completely alienated any potential friends I may have at the City (hi City employees), let’s move on.

133 is the full outline of what’s going to happen with the rental housing in Evergreen. It’s supposed to be affordable, okay, and it’s supposed to have a fully wheelchair-accessible unit (just one?) as well as energy-efficient. Let’s just hope these attractive features are still around when they finish building the houses. They have a way of evaporating.

p. 137. The CMHC reported there was a zero percent vacancy rate for three bedroom units east of the river and north of College Drive. That’s odd, because I know for a fact several of the crap duplexes along Gray have been empty for years. Mostly because they want 1500 a month for them. (Seriously, crap.)

p. 140. One of the streets in Evergreen is called Maningas Bend? I may have to update my silly street name list.

p. 142 is the Report of the Executive Committee, which is a fancy term for a committee comprised of all the council members (Friends of the Bowl). There is a bit about the repeal of the Technical Planning Commission (repeal it! Whatever it is) and then we are on to the Sidewalk Snow Clearing Bylaw or as some see it, the Red Snake of Fascism Rearing Its Head And Eating Our Freedoms and/or Children. (What’s the fascist animal? Weasel? Bull? I am not up on my political epithets here.) (Right, I just remembered it’s “pig” but whatever. Snakes are more ominous.)

If you are a breathing, eating citizen of this bloody city you will know what the issue is about, it is about being fined for Not Doing The City’s Job Which You Don’t Want To Pay The City To Do. (Apologies to those of you who do want to pay the city to do it, perhaps we should organize some sort of public demonstration.) If you want to tell me all about your position on the matter, please don’t. I am too busy gracefully leaping over the windrows of snow on the street and tripping gaily down the excitingly textured area where the sidewalk used to be.  Sometimes I even give a hearty “Tally-ho!” as I plow eagerly through some untouched drift athwart a stately dwelling. Don’t interrupt me, I say. I am having too much fun.

The snow removal enforcement report starts on p. 153 if you care to read it. The summary, I reluctantly offer, is that a) it will cost more money and b) it will most likely cost the most money to those people who need it enforced – people who are unable to wield the most noble of tools, the shovel.

p. 155 has the operational standard for a “clear sidewalk”, here reproduced in full:

“Operationally, a ‘cleared sidewalk’ will be one in which there is visible evidence that effort has been taken to clear the sidewalk subsequent to the most recent snow event and has a cleared path width of at least 1.2 metres. Cleared sidewalks will be free of any loose snow or debris and must not present a hazard nor be a hindrance to pedestrian traffic regardless of their mobility. A packed surface is acceptable as long as the aforementioned conditions are met and the packed thickness does not exceed 3 centimetres.”

The city put those quotes in, not me. I remember enough from my high school English that either you quote something or you put it in block quotes because it’s more than four lines long but you DO NOT DO BOTH. Much like how Saskatoon drivers either execute a turn or use the turn signal, but never at the same time.

p. 156 has the statistics from the last five years on who has been naughty and who has been nice. So far, since the winter of 07/08, the compliance level has been 89%, 94%, 96%, 95%, and 99% respectively. So, those of you who have been giving your shiftless neighbour a break, call them in and lower that number!

p. 157 has the options available and the cost associated with each. Doubtless you have heard the numbers bandied about by your partisan news outlet of choice, so do yourself a solid and read the numbers here. Also please note a Commissionaire is a veteran, generally, so those of you advocating they be paid minimum wage can politely fuck off.

p. 161 has a pictorial reference in case you would like to print that out, augment it with strategic red Sharpie, and tape it to your neighbour’s door. Or in my case, the unfortunate property owners in University Heights shopping area who think it is okay to scatter salt on 3 inches of snow and call it a day. (I am not kidding, they didn’t even turn on the snowblower.) I am not sure what it said on the outside of the salt bag in their possession but I have yet to meet a type of NaCL that could eliminate three inches of snow.

[We now pause while I check that it is indeed a form of table salt used to melt snow. Happily, I am wrong. You can use such diverse things as fertilizer, calcium chloride, calcium magnesium acetate, magnesium chloride, potassium acetate, potassium chloride (fertilizer again) and, uh, urea (also fertilizer), in addition to NaCl. They all have their drawbacks, especially salt which kills the vegetation and any metal, and fertilizer which kills the concrete. Also I believe that sales of potassium chloride are limited due to their rather unsettling side effect of combustibility.]

p. 166 is the beginning of a fuller fleshing-out of the options for snow clearing if you don’t enjoy reading tables.

p. 171 is the beginning of the summaries of the letters to Council. I’ve done some quick sums here and that means that 53.6% of the agenda this month is communications. Hat tip to the residents who made their New Year’s resolution to exercise their right to send, uh, poorly-spelled missives to the local government. At any rate, the poor sod who’s tasked with reading these letters will have managed to stress-eat their way through any remaining Happy Holiday baking. Recycling: good for the environment, less good for your waistline.

p. 483 is a list of requests to speak. These are, in order:
Bruce Frogley on rent subsidies;
Jack Grover on homelessness;
Kent-Smith-Windsor on the property tax.

p. 484 is a summary of letters. This month: waste water management, excess noise, a CFIB info bit on “Property Tax Fairness”, snow removal, the fire on Brightsand Crescent, recycling, infrastructure costs, barking dogs, parking tickets, fluoride, fluoride, multi-unit recycling, THE BUS INCIDENT YOU KNOW WHICH ONE, my friend Phil on cycling, and snow removal.

p. 487 is Mr Grover’s letter. Hang on, I need to update my list of “Top Ten Most Terrifying Letters”. I hope the Commissionaires are on their game tomorrow night. I was super into graphology stuff in high school and this sample here would put any graphologist to Defcon-5.

Kent-Smith-Windsor is, unsurprisingly, lobbying to lower business taxes in this city. p. 490 is the report, if you’re interested. It’s in Calibri, so we can safely ignore it. I don’t take anything that uses the default font seriously. It’s a snappy method of determining whether you should care about something or not. I strongly recommend it; it simplifies your life greatly.

Also there’s a chart on p. 494 that shows property taxes are at an all-time low, almost, in the last decade. (2009 was the lowest). I’m not sure if it’s just me, but this seems like an argument against your position? Perhaps? Taxes were higher during the early half of this decade, you know, when everyone started coming back to Saskatchewan. Also, we’re still struggling with the massive infrastructure deficit caused by chronic underfunding (that is still going on, mind you) of previous administrations.

I understand it’s Kent-Smith-Windsor’s job to lobby for lower taxes, but it’s a bit tone-deaf to do it after we’ve had weeks of people begging council to raise their taxes in order to pay for residential snow clearing. What was the additional cost? $7 per year on the average tax bill? Even the slash-and-burn ideologues, I suspect, are having a hard time defending that one.

Here’s a fun thing from the Atlantic Cities that posits economic incentives (such as tax breaks) actually do nothing.

I have a modest proposal. We all know Saskatchewan is full of hardy types, those who have weathered the, er, weather, and economic adversity, and years of discrimination for being Ukrainian in some cases, and mostly public healthcare. People who have built things on the lands that were questionably acquired from others. People who worked hard plowing until they realized summerfallow was a good thing in the 30’s. People who drink GW and wear green. People who put in a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay, and who shun taking charity when they don’t need it. In Saskatchewan, success is based on hard work and not government handouts. We sneer in the face of “tax breaks” or “credits”. Did people in the 1930’s go on strike? No! They just kept eating dirt and saying “Next year we’ll get those bastards!” Look at those snivelling filmmakers, scraping out of the province on their yellow bellies as soon as their crummy tax credit was rightly denied. And those farmers, painfully picketing the Legislature! Get back in the field! They don’t deserve any breaks. They should be lucky to have a job. So should you! Higher taxes only serves to temper our will to that of adamantine, to increase our determination to succeed against all odds. The rallying cry of the business community is “Raise my taxes? I’ll just make more money to spite you!” And the government responds with equal fervour: “Right then! We’ll just take all your money and put it into boring things like sewer pipes and roads. Not even a fucking statue in your name for all those millions of dollars we’re taking!” It’s war out there, I tell you. War! So my proposal is this: businesses voluntarily give up their tax incentives, since they don’t work anyways, and we put that money towards roadways. It’s a win-win situation. The business community gets some good PR at a low cost, and we can have an “attractive business environment” i.e. one with proper 20th-century roads.

p. 503 is a letter from a MP proposing a bill subsidizing waste water treatment for rural areas.

Kit Deux approves of the City’s recent overtures to noise control.

Now we have some notice of hearings. People are being naughty and building high fences.

p. 511. The CFIB is concerned that if the City raises taxes they will lose their prestigious position (second place) on the CFIB’s list of Top Entrepreneurial Cities. It’s rather tedious and includes the bit that businesses pay 1.78 times the amount residents pay for property tax, which is killing businesses. Don’t believe everything you read in the business mags, boys. The economy in Saskatoon stands upon the edge of a knife.

Here’s the report: “WANTED: Property Tax Fairness in Saskatchewan”. Seems legit. Business types (and all people, really) if you want your report to be taken seriously: 1. avoid moral judgements in the title 2. avoid using all-caps in the title. It’s not hard! Otherwise, you are needlessly antagonizing the people who have make the decisions about tax rates. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that people don’t like to be criticized. (Another thing I know is that some people really enjoy being needlessly antagonized.) Bottom line: don’t make your report sound like some aggrieved libertarian blog post.

Edward Kozowy is not impressed with the $94,000,000 snow dump. He offers his expertise in the area (unknown).

Wallace Frie is a brave man. He is criticizing the efforts of the Fire Department in putting out a house fire across the street. “I saw little effort to put out the fire on the roof of the second house for at lease 30 minutes.” He also wants to know why the hydrant in front of his property was eventually abandoned for one further down the street, especially since his says “Does not drain”. I am certain in the event of a conflagration at Mr Frie’s house, the firefighters will be sure to consult him first upon the appropriate course of action for quelling the flames.

We now pause while I read up on fire hydrants.

Well! That was interesting. So, fire hydrants in cold climates are designed with the valve well below the frost line, so the water doesn’t freeze and we end up with hydrants looking like beer you put out on the back step during a good party and then remembered three days later. (This is also why, if you attack a fire hydrant with a motor vehicle, there is usually not a resulting geyser of water.) These are called “dry hydrants” and they have a drain system so that water doesn’t remain in the hydrant where it will freeze once the fire department is done. However, not all the hydrants in the city are dry hydrants, so we have the “does not drain” circles to identify which ones need special attention after being opened in winter. Ta-da.

Sally Nowaselski is 93 and on a fixed income. She can’t afford the blue bins in front of her house and doesn’t want one. I’m impressed she’s still living in her house, really. Also some of her neighbours have “4 or 5 families” living in a 1 bedroom house” and they are not paying taxes but buying new cars instead. She also suggests that the correctional centre inhabitants be enlisted to shovel the sidewalks.

Brian Geller pins the blame of the infrastructure deficit on sprawl and urges the city to stop subsidizing far-flung crescents at the expense of the central grid.

Wendy Wehner would like to know if there is a way we can stop “the dogs” from barking. “To fill out a log for a week is bull.”

Andy (Yuhou) Hu is angry at the parking ticket his wife received at SIAST. Reading his letter, I’m inclined to agree that this parking situation is also “bull”. She plugged the meter but did not register her plate at the front office. This seems like an extraneous step to me, especially if, as Mr Hu outlines, there is a lack of signs explaining this is the case. Also, as SIAST is now home to most of the EAL learners, signs in additional languages would be an asset. Don’t laugh, you guys, due to the stupid way our city is set up, it mandates car ownership. The resulting scenario is you have people driving cars who are still learning to read English. (Or in some cases, who’ve never learned to read English at all. The literacy level in this burgeoning metropolis is not as high as you’d think.)

Two fluoride letters, covering the same ground as before;

Marjory Gammel is displeased with the two-tier level of service regarding recycling. (Namely, multi-unit buildings have to sort their recycling and can’t recycle as many different things as houses.) She supports Cosmo but says the system makes no sense; why can’t Loraas just do it and then send it over to Cosmo after it’s been sorted?

Arthur Cordell has input on that stupid bus incident. You know which one. Everyone in this situation is frustrated, but everyone is also acting like an inconsiderate asshole. And don’t get me started on the “team pedestrian”, “team bus driver” foolishness. If you haven’t let your precious ass touch a bus seat in a decade, stay out of it.

Phil Siebert, my new friend, is asking about the awful state of affairs of the Meewasin bike trail behind Walmart-Cabela’s. Ohhhh you guys. I have been stewing over this all summer and have managed to forget about it until now. Perhaps I may create a titanic post based around this over the Christmas break, complete with hand-drawn illustrations and rage arrows. I am not quite sure why I am so upset about this, except for the fact I go through there every day in the fair seasons. (I have a series of email exchanges with a City traffic engineer on this point. Are any of you traffic engineers? I have some questions for you and they’re not very nice.)  That crosswalk behind Cabela’s as a viable solution is bullshit. Bullshit! Oh I am so mad again. And the worst part is this is such a puny little infrastructure problem, like focusing on that sliver in your nail when your leg is rotting off. But you can get that sliver out! You can’t do too much about the leg without outside help.

Shirley Bird has a blockage on her sidewalk caused by the city graders. So she is parking in her neighbour’s spot. (She lives at 103 108th St, to inform those of you next door.) Herein lies the dilemma: if you live on a snow route or bus route, your road gets cleared and your driveway blocked. If you live off the routes, your driveway gets cleared (by yourself) and the road gets blocked. Everyone: so miserable! Even I am miserable this year, and I quite like snow.

And that’s it! I’m done. I’ve been getting later and later on these. I’d apologize, except for I’m not getting paid to do this and I’m not quite sure why I’m doing this anymore anyways. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, both of you.

Normally I type everything out in a separate text-editing program, saving regularly, and then just copy and paste it in here. Well, I had to get fancy this evening and glomp, WordPress swallowed all the new edits I made so now I have to go back and redo them again.

And now it’s eaten the previous post. MADDENING.

Oh, wait, it’s retained the goddamn tags. What is this I don’t even.

Ohh my god you guys, I made so many edits in the browser window, I don’t know if I can face doing it again. Well, this one will be much shorter and more punchy, let me assure you. I felt like I have spent all day typing.

Unsuccessful nap break later. Currently drinking hot water with honey and ginger, as experienced at Sushiro. (Cheap and strongly recommended, also won’t stain my tender enamel like coffee and tea. Seriously, my dentist told me to stop drinking so much coffee. I have like 1 or 2 cups a week?)

p. 315 is the report of the executive committee, which is everyone on council. All these committees! What do they do. It is a mystery. I bet there are cookies though. At the meetings. Then there is a long list of who is being appointed to which committee. This goes all the way to p. 334, which is when we descend into madness. Well, perhaps not madness. But there is a lot of repetition.

p. 334 is the start of the Needle Exchange Program report. Upon reading this part twice, it looks like the City has submitted a report and supporting documents, and someone critical of the information has printed out this report and supporting documents, annotated them, included some other counterfactual documents and submitted these for inclusion in the agenda. This hoary mess extends to page 473. I need to print out this entire block and pin it up on the wall with yarn strings and post-it notes to decipher it fully, but alas I do not have enough wall or energy. To sum it up: the City administration is recommending that the zoning bylaws for medical clinics include needle exchanges. That is it. In case you would like to skip this section, all you need to know is :

1. The needle exchange has been operational for several years; it is only open from 1-3 pm and an average of 2 people use it per day (it’s just one of the services offered by AIDS Saskatoon at that location.)

2. Crime rates have gone downhill in Caswell and Mayfair since the opening of this clinic. (Obligatory correlation does not imply causation blurb here.)

3. Some residents have become concerned that, upon learning there is a needle exchange in the area, it is raising crime rates. (Obligatory correlation does not imply causation blurb here.)

4. The supporting evidence for needle exchange and other harm-reduction programs is supported by health regions, health authorities, doctors, and researchers; the majority of published studies indicate positive outcomes; and the majority of programs have also reported positive outcomes.

5. The arguments against needle exchange programs and other harm-reduction programs consist of moral/value judgements, unsupported claims and very little evidence. Granted, there are two studies that conclude that needle exchanges do little to reduce the HIV infection rate in the community (if I’ve read this properly, the supporting material in the agenda is a touch…disjointed).

It’s all very similar to the Insite arguments, if you’re familiar with that story. One would think from the tone of some of the correspondence that this is an equivalent situation.

Characters in this drama:

Ms. Lori Prostebby, business owner and aggrieved party;

Councillor Hill; councillor

Councillor Lorje; councillor

AIDS Saskatoon; 601 33rd St W

Assorted health region officials.

The scene: Ms Prostebby has recently learned that there is a needle exchange operating out of a neighbouring building to her business. Despite the needle exchange being in operation for several years without her awareness, she feels that it is responsible for the perceived increase in crime in her area (including, but not limited to, the theft of her van, valued at $1000). Ms Prostebby owns a sef-serve dog wash which also offers complimentary home-made brownies (for your four-legged friend, not you). 

Anyways, this situation requires more research, which means I am personally going to go down to 33rd and have a delicious bowl of dolsot bibimbap, some green curry, and red bean ice cream at the Rice Bowl. (I’m kidding about the curry. My tastebuds are still growing back after that one, three years later.) Seriously, it is one of my favourite places to eat in the city. And Christie’s is just down the block.

p. 353 is the report from the Health Region, touting the benefits of harm reduction. Fun fact: the needle return rate is 129%, which means there is a net influx of needles to the exchange. Anyways, if you miss this one, don’t despair, it’s included again on p. 390.

p. 372 has a comprehensive list of what the SPS has been up to in the area, including a CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) study with the full compliance of the owner of a licensed establishment on 33rd, in order to reduce criminal activity around that bar. I imagine we can all guess which establishment this is.

p 375 is a letter from the Riversdale Business Improvement District stating that they unanimously oppose the installation of a “safe injection site or other social medical outreach within the RBID’s boundary”. Hopefully the RBID’s boundary does not extend to St. Paul’s Hospital, otherwise things might get awkward.

p. 408 is a letter dated June 11 of this year from Ms. Prostebby.
She urges the administration to look at the crime stats for the area since it has increased.

Crime stats for the area:
Caswell down 20.3 percent in violent crimes
Caswell down 11 percent in property crimes
Mayfair down 5.6 percent in violent crimes
Mayfair down 16.3 percent in property crimes

Ms Prostebby wants to know why giving needles to addicts is considered “harm reduction”. “the diseases, illnesses they get are just as bad or even worse then Adis [sic] itself, overtime they inject death is a consequence. It affects us all by more healthcare dollars.” I…what. Exactly. Every time they inject *with a used or dirty needle* death is a consequence. By handing out clean needles, they reduce the chance of death. Congratulations Ms Prostebby, you have, despite yourself, become a champion of needle exchanges.

p. 410 is another letter from Ms Prostebby. I am not going to bother any more with this.

p. 411 is a letter from the Medical Health Officer summarizing what has been done re. harm reduction and substance abuse, what the police have done, and what the outcomes have been. I admire these people for their patience.

p 416 is another printout and subsequent scan of the AIDS Saskatoon website. People. I am going to insist you start listing the “environmental implications” of producing this agenda. I am beginning to see the value of getting tablets for every councillor. If you would like to do likewise for me, I’m waiting for the retina iPad mini to come out. Thanks in advance.

p. 419 is a printout of an email to Ms Prostebby from AIDS Saskatoon that she has printed off and sent in. (I know she has done this because her header is at the top). If only there was some more convenient way of, say, forwarding an email.

p. 422 is a scan of a printout of the AIDS Saskatoon financial statements. What is going on.

p. 424 is a printout of the News Talk 650 CKOM story on the approval for the generic form of Oxycontin. Oh, how my brain hurts. Oh, if only there was some convenient way of sharing information from different websites on the Internet. Or at least some way that you could “copy” and “paste” information from a website in a document, perhaps we could call it a “Portable Document Format”. Alas, we must resort to printing things off and scanning them. If you’re wondering why I am so distressed about this, I have customers who, when asked for a “higher resolution copy” of their logo (or any copy, really) print off their shitty JPG that they first sent me blown up and then scan it back in to their computer.

p. 425 is a copy of “The Medical Profession Act, 1981” from the provincial government. At this point I have officially stopped trying to make sense of what is going on here. Apparently they are tossing in everything that they can find after googling “medical + saskatchewan”.

p. 428 is a letter from Dr Johnmark Opondo to Ms Prostebby. He has included specific statistics for how many needles were exchanged in Saskatchewan and how many were exchanged at the 601. The return rate is 123.1% if you want to know. There are also about 4500 tests done every month in Saskatchewan for HIV positivity.

p. 429 is a scare pamphlet from an anti-exchange “news” outlet. I can tell this because of 1. the font. 2. the cherry picking of statistics (of course the needle exchange program is going to have a higher rate of HIV positivity. This is like saying homeless shelters cause unemployment.) 3. It also makes statements without backing them up with pesky things such as facts or evidence. 4. the presence of the word “honesty”, which when used in this context, usually means anything but. (See also “political correctness”.)

p. 431 is a scan of a printout of a news release from the Gov’t of SK announcing the “Healthy Lifestyles Day for Youth”. This involves the assembling of 1900+ grade 7 students from Saskatoon in Prairieland Park for two days to hear presentations about healthy lifestyles. Mostly these presentations are about unhealthy lifestyles such as alcohol consumption and texting while driving, two things completely foreign to high school students. (Although, one hopes, they are mostly unexperienced by 7th graders.)

Oh man, I remember all the special field trips we did to neighbouring locales to hear anti-drug messages. Mostly I remember worrying about who I was going to sit with on the bus and whether the boy I currently liked and was totally unable to speak to was going to sit in the next seat. I already knew drugs were bad. (Also I had no idea who George Chuvalo was, aside that he was a very sad man who had a very sad life but at some point  had boxed some other guys that sounded vaguely familiar.) Events like these make the adults feel like they are Doing Something Good For The Kids while the kids are just plotting how they can sit on each other’s laps on the bus ride home. (One of our field trips may have also involved the fenestric distribution of Kraft Singles from a moving vehicle.)

p. 431 is a printoff of Laurence Thompson Strategic Consulting’s website. I am dead. This agenda has killed me. Please sue accordingly. I’d like a nice bylaw in my name. “HILARY’S LAW AGAINST PRINTING OFF WEBSITES AND THEN SCANNING THEM IN WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.”

p. 432 is a print — Nope, I can’t do it. It is a profile of persons diagnosed with HIV in Saskatchewan. If you have been reading this agenda in chronological order, you will be very familiar with the charts as you have seen them at least three times by now.

p. 438 is a random page from a medical journal? Oh there is something in there about killing HIV viruses with something else.

p. 439 is an excerpt from the review of needle exchange programs in SK. Fun fact: Alberta and Manitoba distribute safer crack kits, since their population prefers smoking.

p. 440 is the HIV Strategy for Saskatchewan, courtesy of the Sask Ministry of Health. Hmm, oddly enough it does not call for the immediate cessation of needle-exchange activities.

Here’s  another critical note from, one assumes, Ms Prostebby on p. 448. “Only 2 people a day go to Aids Saskatoon. 2000+ IDU in S’toon.” Well, it should be fairly easy to determine who has stolen your van, then.

p. 450 has some quotes from program staff members of feedback or information they have received from the clients.

What, there is no needle exchange in Yorkton? Iesu Crist. There is a huge IDU high-risk population there.

Also they misspelled Dilaudid. (My sister is a pharmacist.)

Ritalin is the 4th most injected drug in Saskatchewan?

“Many people manage fine with injection drug use while also working”.

There are a couple of things highlighted here, but if the critic who sent this in is trying to turn the report’s numbers against itself, they’re going to fail. Anyone who has read this would recognize the highlighted bits as taken out of context.

Cocaine users who inject can use anywhere from 20 −100 needles per day, depending on how much coke they’ve obtained. Needle exchanges usually hand out 10 per user per day.

p. 454 has some comments from the needle-users themselves.

p. 456 is a summary from another report that concludes needle exchanges reduce HIV infection, there is no convincing evidence of any major unintended negative consequences, that they’re cost effective, that they have additional benefits and that bleach is a silly way of reducing HIV infection. (Bleach is provided, nominally, in prisons, where there is a very high rate of shared needles. Yes, that’s right, IDU occurs in incarcerated populations.)

p. 457 is a bit from the “New Jersey Family Policy Council (Voicing Your Values in the Garden State)”. As expected, their evidence consists of anecdotes and makes extensive use of the passive voice. They also use the term “slippery slope” which, ugh, I apologize again for using earlier. (In the event that I have deleted that particular rant, please disregard.) Anyways, quoting the Toronto Sun, yourself, and other anti-harm-reduction newsletters while ignoring things like medical journals pretty much sums up the quality of “evidence” here. (Sue-Ann Levy is quoted twice, btw.)

Oh look, here they’ve managed to dig up 1 of the 2 studies showing negative outcomes from needle exchanges. (In case you’re wondering, the WHO found 6 studies in favour, 2 negative and 2 inconclusive.)

p. 462 unexpectedly plunges us into the midst of Councillors Hill and Lorje’s correspondence with Ms Prostebby.

p. 463 has some terrific unvarnished bits straight from Pat Lorje. I especially like the quotes around “thoughts”.

p. 464 is a letter from the Premier’s office touting the need for harm reduction and saying that the needle exchange programs have undergone review and they are “implementing improvements”.

OK, the next few pages are more printouts, email correspondence and what-have-you. I am thoroughly tired of this circus and have respect for the patience of the councillors involved.

p. 472 is a printoff of crime stats for the North West area. The offending increases have been marked. There are not very many of them, and of the ones that are increasing, most are in the single digits. (The outlier is a 225% increase in kidnapping/abduction/hostage taking – a jump to 13 from 4 the previous year.) The numbers are trending down, very much so. And this area encompasses much more than just Caswell Hill and Mayfair.

Oh sweet crisp cracker. We are done with the needle exchange stuff. Now is a report by the Administration recommending that public hearings/consultations be conducted in July and August as there is simply not enough time in the rest of the year to accommodate this break. I agree, but then I also think that the July/August school break is an outdated scheduling method. We don’t all live on farms or by the farm schedule any more, especially in this burgeoning metropolis of Saskatoon. And I grew up on a farm. What’s next, a break in February hearings in order to placate the Arizona-bound?

Actually, what would be quite nice is a monthly scheduled meeting, dates advertised well in advance, that keeps the area up-to-date on what is going on with various projects in the community, as well as providing a forum for concerns. I read the agenda and subscribe to news releases from the City, but even I find out about hearings or forums the day they are scheduled to be held. I also attended the Central Ave Master Plan forum and submitted feedback, but have not heard anything else about proposed changes until they’re actually installed on the street in question. (I’m especially pissed about this as I remember the plan I looked at had solid concrete medians in the centre of Central with trees in them and all we have now is bullshit paint stripes on the road. I demand answers. And trees. Also the bollards they picked are roughly the same size and shape as 4-year-olds, so that’s a fun thing to drive past.)

p. 478 is a proposed amendment to the zoning bylaw to create a distinction between places of worship and wedding or funeral parlours.

And we’re onto the correspondence to CIty Council. As they say, “huzzah”.

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.