Archives for posts with tag: city council

Attention everyone. I have an agenda. I also have the city council agenda for next week. (My agenda is shorter and involves cookies and possibly a puppy.) This week’s agenda is only 249 pages long, practically a short story.

First thing up is a care home, Type II, which I believe means that it’s an adult-onset care home. In this case it’s late adult-onset. They want to up the residents from five to seven. There’s no objection from the Administration; there’s more than enough parking and it’s already a care home. One of the neighbours has an issue with the increased traffic and she’s worried they’ll change it into a treatment centre. No worries there, with the population trends as it is operating a seniors’ home will be a license to print money in the coming decades. They’ve cut off or omitted the name of the neighbour but she’s mentioned earlier – Lindsay Haeusler. Anyways, she says she moved here because of the neighbourhood and if anything changes or her house value goes down, well – well, actually, she doesn’t say what she’ll do. Hopefully she loves Lakeview so much she’ll want to spend the rest of her life there, perhaps in a care home in the vicinity. Seriously though, having a family move in next door with >3 kids between 16 and 22 will generate more traffic than a care home.

(Ask me about the time I had an undiagnosed anxiety attack while doing a temporary job in a care home. You guys, I do not want to be in one of those things, ever. Remind me to write up a will and living will, just in case. Perhaps I’ll get a tattoo too. Don’t get me wrong, the care home was perfectly nice and clean and well-run, with good staff. I just personally get super itchy and panicky when I think about being confined in one.)

p. 16 is some land use applications, complete with surveys for you mappy types. Addresses are:

  • 1132 College Drive
  • 125 Willis Crescent
  • Rosewood Boulevard West and East
  • Bentley Lane, Court, and Kensington Road
  • Boykowich Street, Marlatte Crescent/Lane/Street, Baltzan Boulevard, and Ahktar Bend
  • 126 Idylwyld Drive North
  • 715 Werschner Street
  • Evergreen District Village — Area 2
  • 1541 Spadina Crescent East

Ooh and here’s the results of an enquiry from Councillor Lorje about the planning criteria for off-leash recreation areas (henceforth known as … well, I’m still working on a snappy epithet for these. No doubt Australians have something already.) If you were wondering, there is currently no, um, “Dog Park Planning for Dummies” guide and as such, they’re considered on a case-by-case basis. Cllr Lorje’s request was twofold: to find out the planning criteria for dog parks and to consider requiring them as a standard amenity in neighbourhoods.

I did a bit of Googling here and found out London, GB has 8 off-leash parks. The reason why I picked this was because I know Britain has a high rate of dog ownership and I’ve been watching gobs of British telly lately. Absolute loads of it. Saskatoon has 5 OLRAs. To be fair, the parks in London include such famous grassy swathes as Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, both of which you may have heard. Here I don’t think anyone wades through the canine-infested wastelands unless they already own an ankle-biter . (I’ve biked through the Sutherland park, but was nearly overcome by the smell of dog pee at one point. If you ever want to punish someone you hate, have them reincarnated as a rock just inside a dog park entrance.)

p. 20 has some “criteria and approaches that were relatively consistent” across Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, Surrey, Toronto, and Markham. Full report is later, so settle down.

As far as I can tell here, what the report is recommending is stepping up maintenance in current parks (huzzah) before plugging in new ones. As for creating new “neighbourhood” parks (small ones you can walk to), they prefer to wait until a critical mass of dog owners accumulates in an area. Larger parks in new neighbourhoods will be developed in consultation with user groups.

p. 24. It costs the city slightly over 2 million dollars for cell phone and data service for five years. Clearly this is a waste of municipal tax dollars. If employees have something to say to each other, they can drive over and say it to each other’s face. Bonus: this will cut down on interpersonal conflicts. As for data use, city employees could just ask passers-by to look things up on the Google. I’m sure taxpayers won’t mind being asked this favour, since it’s saving them money. Also, e-mail is well-known to be a  source of stress, so the City should just switch back to posting letters. This will also provide Canada Post with a boost in income. I have just saved the city 2 mil. To quote T-Rex, “You’ll thank me when you share my politics!” (Why are you all not reading Dinosaur Comics? Go on, get out of here.)

(At least City Hall doesn’t have a contract with Rogers. There’s a reason why I don’t hang out with my Rogers-contracted friends…they never answer their phone since “the tower is down” or get my texts.)

Whoof. If the city switched to individual contracts instead of negotiating it all as one block, it’d be over 3.3 million dollars. This is the power of “collective bargaining”, people.

p. 27 is the “Contract Award Report” or at least the report on the report. No names are named…yet. (The City reports the winners of contracts/RFPs between $50K and $75K thrice yearly.)

p. 28 is a proposed increase to the homeowner’s portion of the water/sewer replacement program. The City pays 60% of the costs but, as you most likely guessed, costs are rising. If you’re thinking about getting on this bandwagon, get on before January 22nd or else you’ll be out another $290 on top of the initial $2250. I could be wrong about this, though. Anyway, you should probably get your lines replaced sooner rather than later, if you have the choice.

Brunner’s is doing the line replacements.

p. 38. The Northeast needs a lift station and force main; Associated Engineering wins the bid with $396,620, or will if Council approves it.

p. 39. “The force main will discharge into the Central Avenue sanitary sewer trunk system at the intersection of Central Avenue and Somers Road.” The good people of Evergreen and future environs will not have to worry…about the security…of their shit.

Of course I love Burn After Reading, who doesn’t?

p. 42. Brevoort Park and Lakeview need to secure their shit. Er, install some sanitary sewer storage aka “super pipes”. There’s some funding from the government but the whole thing has to be done by 2015 in order to qualify. AECOM wins this one.

p. 46 is the University Bridge hey hey hey Rehabilitation. Design this year, construction to begin next year, so buy your house accordingly. Good heavens, the bridge is 98 years old. Do you think the new police palace will last that long? (I know, I’m being needlessly contentious here.) Fun fact: the 25th St Bridge was, when it opened, the longest of its kind in Canada. Also it was supposed to be a steel-truss bridge originally, like the Victoria bridge.

Anyways, as you’ll remember, Council approved the bare minimum of funding to keep the bridges wheezing along, so expect to see lots of RFPs for bridge bandaids coming up. (Also possibly RFPs for ziplines, but those of us with discerning taste prefer a slide/gondola combination.)

p. 47. Here is what needs to be done:

  • Remove asphalt wearing surface, membrane, and expansion joints;
  • Spot repairs to approximately 10% of the concrete deck;
  • Provide new membrane and asphalt wearing surface or replace with concrete driving surface;
  • Spot repairs to approximately 30% of the arches and abutments;
  • Provision of a galvanic protection system over the arches and abutments.

CH2M Hill wins this tender.

p. 50 is more on the landfill gas thing. It’s the agreement between Saskatoon Light & Power and SaskPower and is rather boring.

p. 53. Damn. “The Landfill Gas Project will generate electricity by combusting the methane emitted from the landfill, producing electricity and converting the gas to carbon dioxide (C02), which is 21 times less harmful for the environment than methane.”

(This is partially why eating less cow meat can be potentially more beneficial than driving less. Full disclosure: my parents operate a cattle farm, or at least my dad does some of the time. If you don’t get the link, cows burp a lot. And it’s methane. 100-500L per day, depending on who you ask. In New Zealand, over a third of their greenhouse gas emissions come from sheep and cattle.)

p. 55 is a bunch of  from the Chamber of Commerce, asking the City to agree with the following grammatically suspect statement: “That the City of Saskatoon continue to work with the Saskatoon business community to maintain Saskatoon’s position as Canada’s Business Friendliest City over this City Council’s elected term between 2012 and 2016.”

The CFIB named Saskatoon as the top Canadian “big city” with the most business-friendly policies. KPMG also rated Saskatoon as the most tax-competitive city in Canada. I rather want to draw a Venn diagram and see if “business-friendly” ever overlaps with “excellent levels of snow removal and road maintenance”.

p. 57. The five-year tax exemption is for businesses that commit to job creation targets. That’s funny, Vecima Networks is up for this (as in the previous meeting this month) and they’ve been handily laying people off since 2011. (Almost 20% of their workforce was cut in 2011 at one blow, twas brutal.) Perhaps there’s something else I don’t know about this program. Either that or they’ve hired everyone back and more.

p. 60 is the start of the survey maps for the zoning/rezoning applicants.

p. 69 is the start of Off-Leash Recreation Areas Best Practices Review. Includes a list of best practices for dog parks from several cities and then segues into the report on p. 72.

p. 72 may be of interest to Jordon Cooper, in case he is uncredited for yet another photograph.

p. 75 lists one of the benefits of OLRAs as “reduce incidence of unauthorized off leash activity in parks and open spaces”, which, ha. There is a serial offender in the summer who refuses to leash their dogs en route to or from the dog park. (After informing them several times with decreasing politeness that this was not part of the off-leash area, I just called Animal Services. I don’t care how perfect your dog is. I grew up around animals. Even you cannot predict 100% how your animal will react in an unpredictable situation, especially one that involves blind corners. Not to mention that in any altercation, it’s likely your dog will get injured. Putting your dog on a leash when required: safe for others, but even safer for your dog. Unless you are walking your dog on a leash while you drive your car, which, why.)
 
p. 83 is the start of the Insightrix dog-owner survey which has some fun statistics. Dog owners: you are not coming across very well here. Also, I begin to understand just why there is a lot of canine ejecta everywhere. I’ll leave you at this point as you no doubt want to read it, and I want to go to bed.

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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.

Right, sorry, sorry. I am a bit late on this one. It’s just that Top Gear is an actual hour long! And you can’t just watch one.

Things covered in this agenda that I am not going to talk about:

1. The Point 9 development for the absolutely fabulously walkable University Heights
2. The decision to formalize the allotment of extra funds garnered through development
3. The taxi bylaw and accessible cab licensing fiasco
4. The awarding of the snow dump site pushing contract
5. The upgrading of the wastewater treatment plant computer network and software from it’s c. 1995 (!) operating system
6. The awarding of the North Downtown Plan plan
7. The report on the Saskatoon.ca website
8. The 2012 tax assessment report
9. The report on the abuse of engine retarder brakes within city limits (conclusion: it’s a problem, but difficult to enforce.)
10. The report of the Administration and Finance Committee on the Neighbourhood Land Development Fund and the District Energy Systems Feasibility report.
11. The report on the projected return of investment for the Hampton Village and Willowgrove. Actually, I am going to comment a bit on this. It’s rather alarming that the city is expanding three neighbourhoods at once, especially in light of the declining house sales across the board in Canada. I mean, it’s not certain Saskatoon will follow suit. City managing is like turning a tanker around, but I’d rather not see the allegorical sequel to S.S. City of Medicine Hat vs Traffic Bridge. (If the housing market does indeed tank, I get rights to this allegory, journalists! You owe me money!) Anyways Willowgrove is completely sold out of single and multi-family residential lots. There are less that 25 lots in the Hamptons. Come on down! Ha ha, I am such a crank on this subject. Gonna change my Twitter handle to “HENRY MAYDAY”. (™ ME)

12. the sale of the last bit of property – the commercial bit – in Willowgrove Square. You know the place, the goofy square-shaped park deal that always ices up like a motherfucker in winter where you can bust out some sweet slides, not that I would ever do such a thing. Also you can park there and make out/deal drugs/discuss Life, the Universe, and Everything in your little car-box of Emotion, because you’re 17.

Things covered in the agenda that I am going to talk about:
The S.S. CIty of Medicine Hat. It has a lovely report, starting on p. 153, that I badly want to edit for grammar and spelling. Some background: the captain was Horatio Hamilton Ross and Ye Old Boate cost $28,000 to build – about $683k today – for a 130 foot ship. Anyways, they were coming up from Medicine Hat to Winnipeg. Our noble boat (I just like calling it a boat, okay) stopped before the bridge in order to let people off to Not Drink Alcohol. After firing up again, the majestic vessel promptly got entangled in telegraph wires and kronched at a leisurely pace into the southernmost bridge pier (now surrounded by land). There were no casualties. This, my friends, is the Greatest Marine Disaster in the history of Saskatoon. (The runner-up is the person who parked their SUV in the river this fall, with an honourable mention to the dude who tried to escape the cops by swimming across the river.) Other notable marine disasters in Saskatchewan: the one guy in Clavet every year who insists on driving his skidoo across the slough when it’s not ready; Wascana Lake; and the Lumsden Duck Derby.

Wait, what? “At the time of the crash, a small herd of cattle was being driven across the bridge from the east to the west to the stockyards”. This is more exciting to imagine than the ol’ S.S. expiring gracefully on the side of the bridge.

All right, who wrote this report? “Grand Truck Railroad”? The only Grand Truck Railroad I know of in this city is Circle Drive North.

They’ve found approximately 1,000 artifacts. This may surprise you but the Stantec archaeologists have concluded that the artifacts are most likely from the S.S. City of Medicine Hat (here listed as the “S.S. CIty Medicine Hat”. Macros are your friends, anonymous report writer.)

Annnd IMDB is listed as a source. As well as Wikipedia. The City of Saskatoon: less rigorous than your 8th-grade English teacher.

Yay, the North Downtown energy study. Previous to this agenda, this is one thing that I hadn’t thought about: where all the energy is going to come from to power this infill. Anyways the report has found that “a district energy system developed in Saskatoon would be profitable.” Since it’s a bit smaller, the power source can be changed over at a reasonable cost to something more sustainable (insert hot-air-politician joke here). Other areas of the city that qualify for a local energy district are: Evergreen, Holmwood (whatever that is) and the North Downtown. The rest of you lot are not dense enough to justify having a local energy-generating source. (No, but seriously, where is Holmwood? Is the city just making up areas now?) Anyways the report indicates that partnering with a private-sector energy company would produce an “acceptable rate of return for the City”.

Ohh Holmwood is the area the City just annexed from our friends, the RM of Corman Park, may they rest in peace. Seriously? That’s going to be super dense? I suppose that it’s easier now to just make all new developments denser than integrate density into existing neighbourhood and feel the prickle of many pitchforks in the small of your back. It’s just that Holmwood is going to be, like, so far, from, like everything. (Everything being Broadway and Downtown, where I spend most of *my* non-working time.) Oh, I’m sorry, if you’re looking for journalistic integrity and bias-free reporting, you’ll have to look somewhere else.  I’m not quite sure where, though.

Also in this section, Charlie Clark asked about sucking some more heat off the water entering the river from the power plant, in order to solidify the river’s surface a bit. Unfortunately this would cost A Lot, so no skating on the river for you. Even if there wasn’t any hot water dumped into our glorious waterway, the City would have a hell of a time stopping people from looking for a quick shortcut regardless of thickness of ice.

p. 182, if you’re following along has a terrific bit of manager-speak. The bit it’s about, if you care, is the implementation of the new telephone system along with the establishment of a Unified Communications Reserve (this sounds like socialist propaganda to me.) Here it is, in its entirety:

“This report supports the long-term strategy of increasing staff productivity by being more efficient and leveraging new technology to improve operational efficiency under the Strategic Goal of A Culture of Continuous Improvement.”

Leveraging! I love it. You know what else has “a culture of continuous improvement?” Microsoft. I think of this lovingly every time I update my work computer and my drivers are all fucked. I also love it when I unplug the keyboard and it FREAKS OUT. It also refuses to turn on without a keyboard plugged in. I suppose there’s some sort of analogy I could draw here. Look under “W” on the Saskatoon.ca website for more city worker jokes! Whoops, it’s under “H” for “Hackneyed”.

So, the new telephone system, as I understand it, will be a sort of proto-Skype (phoning people using the power of the intertubes). The police and fire phones won’t be migrated until later. I just have one burning, throbbing question: what happens if the power goes out? The savings gained by switching ($20,000 net) doesn’t mean much if, hello, there is some sort of oh, I don’t know, ACT OF NATURE. I suppose we are in the glorious 21st century, but growing up in a rural area with frequent power outages, the fact that you could still pick up your old landline phone and call your neighbour is worth something. (The conversations would go like this: “Hi, it’s so and so. Do you have power? No? OK. Who else doesn’t have power?” Oftentimes we could determine where the power was out based on our rudimentary form of triangulation. Then we would call SaskPower and ask, not unlike our Eastern cousins, how long we’d have to freeze in the dark.)

Fiiine. I’ve just been reading a lot of Sandy coverage lately and now I’m looking at things like “crank flashlights” and “wood stoves that generate electricity”. I’m sure we’ll be OK. The City is working on a disaster response plan, right? Right? Oh god, how much are zodiac rafts. I’ll take two. Wait, with no power plant operating, the river will freeze. Now I am starting to understand the thought process of certain persons who live in Clavet.

p. 196 makes reference to an “urban village” which seems rather oxymoronic to me. I know what they’re driving at, but do we have to make everything sound quaint in order to make it palatable? That was a rhetorical question. All these questions on here are rhetorical, in case you were wondering. There’s a bunch of stuff here about What Is Allowed and What Is Not Allowed, in case you live around that area and your pitchforks are getting dull. (I keep mine nice and sharp.) Also some things on LEED standards, architectural standards etc.

p. 210 is the RFP. The RFP is fun to read if you’re familiar with the area, as you will enjoy the discrepancy in how the City describes the area vs how it is generally used (see above.) Anyways it should be rather entertaining once it’s done, especially if the city doesn’t use ice-mitigating techniques. Seriously, you can go down there in winter and re-create Tokyo Drift without any loss of tire rubber. (Other forms of loss, such as self-respect, may occur.)

p. 230 recommends the charging of fees for snow-dump users. I am not sure if you read the letters to the editor in the Star-Phoenix, but if you do, then you will understand the following: HOW MANY CHILDREN WILL DIE BECAUSE OF THIS SHAMELESS DECISION? (Seriously though, props to the guy for busting out the child-killing factor. It’s an angle that I wish Saskatoon Cycles would pursue more aggressively in their lobbying efforts.) (Yes, holy Odin, I am being sarcastic here. Or am I? I mean, what are children, but pawns to advance our own agenda? Literally, if you consider the genetic factor. Children: small, occasionally adorable, meat-pylons and/or political wedges.)

Fine, I’ll list the gist of this letter: a snow-dumping person wrote in that charging user fees would result in more piles of snow being stored in/on private property rather than hauled away. Children play on the resulting piles of snow, which will invariably collapse and send them off gently into that good night. Ergo: charging fees for snow dumping would result in the deaths of children. Wait till this guy sees the stats on how many children die in car collisions. HOW MANY CHILDREN WILL DIE BECAUSE PEOPLE INSIST ON DRIVING CARS? (A lot.)

Ok, I’m rather done with this lot. Next: the communications to Council.

Speakers:

Adam Pollock thinks the Traffic Bridge replacement is bollocks, and that the north bridge is where it’s at. He’s got an idea and he wants to present it.

The next letter is from exemplary citizen, Prof. J. L. Grover. He wants to talk about homelessness and affordable housing.

Ted Popel would like to address the subject of committees of council. He does not elaborate further.

The Chamber of Commerce would like to address Council for being declared the “business friendliest Canadian city”. (It appears that the Chamber has dropped the hammer portion of their logo, an issue which I have struggled mightily with in various forms. They sponsor a lot of things which I have to print ads etc. for, and the logo is only available in some bullshit 72 dpi minuscule jpeg.)

Patti from the Heritage Council just wants to welcome new members and remind them that the Saskatoon Heritage Society is always watching.

CUPE wants to talk about the library workers.

Oh, I see. The situation at Marquis Court is that there’s only one exit. It’s for Richardson House of Fixtures and Supplies, in the new area in the Marquis Drive vicinity (which is why it doesn’t show up on the map.) She’s concerned that if there is a fire, they will not be able to leave the property. I am going to suggest that the City abolish their unfortunate plan of surrounding new developments with steep-walled moats full of wild boars. Hopefully the administration will come to their senses and approve another exit, so the good citizens of this development do not suffer an awful and untimely death in case of a totally unforeseen fire. I am also sure that the property managers at this location have installed adequate smoke detectors and other fire-suppression systems. It would be horrible to be responsible, even indirectly, for the deaths of other people.

Neale Hall is, uh, wanting to talk about the disrespectful attitude of the Saskatoon Police Service towards Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and Canadian citizens. (He makes no mention of international visitors.) He states that he doubts Premier Wall is going to let this situation continue.

Mrs Gaynor Baker wishes to address the issue of fireworks. She lives on Rayner Ave; there is a convenience store on that same street that sells fireworks. She suffers from PTSD and loud bangs are understandably distressing for her. She would like the sale and use of fireworks limited to public holidays.

The FCM is acknowledging receipt of payment for a thing.

The Santa Claus(e) Parade is taking place on the 18th. The theme is “A Cartoon Christmas”.

Craig Allan says everyone he knows has nothing good to say about the “eighty million dollar art gallery”. He states that it is “for the rich” and that “less the [sic] one percent of the population is into art”. He is also concerned about the South Bridge project. Calgary was able to build their ring road in less time; perhaps the City engineers could go on a field trip and learn how to speed things up. Craig Allan is not taking any of your bullshit. This is my own interpretation of Craig Allan’s position.

The Polaris Institute has sent a helpful paper about P3’s. (No, it is not People Pavement Progress). Sadly, he has sent it to the wrong people, as he says it will help “counsellors” who might have questions or concerns about P3s. In case you were wondering, it appears that the Polaris Institute has goals and positions that are diametrically opposed to those of, say, the Fraser Institute. If you would like to read further, the report is on p. 330. I, for one, look forward to our new Cameco North Bridge To Future Prosperity. It will be a great architectural and engineering feat to sleep under.

Mary Parent is concerned about the sale of the Saskatoon Inn. Those dastardly Winnipeggers are coming in to mineral-spa(m) the place. She says that the name of the hotel represents our city, an irrefutable fact. Anyways, with the loss of the KG and the Victoria Bridge, this is the last straw. She wants to know what we will lose next; I am sure the administration will be delighted to inform her.

Stephen Holinaty would like the smoking ban to include all businesses, instituting a 10-metre zone outside. At this point, I would like to suggest that perhaps it is easier to enforce smoking zones as opposed to non-smoking zones.

p. 334 is a letter to, uh, everyone involved in either governance or health care. It is, ah, a bit difficult to summarize, but it’s mainly about the failure of levels of government to responsibly co-operate on health-care strategy. Parts of it are in both official languages of Canada. He has also copied-and-pasted other communications with government officials.

SEIU-West is concerned about CETA (Canadian-European Trade Agreement). I don’t know too much about this at this point. You do the work. I’ve gotta go back to school so I can participate in this new thing they call the knowledge-based economy.

Sandra Finney would just like to make sure your motives are pure, newly-appointed City Mothers and Fathers. Some people, she says, are being left out of our current economic munificence. Booms are for everyone (unless you are Mrs Gaynor Baker).

Donna Roller says IMAX is planning 110 to 125 new theatres next year and that we should try to get one. The city will get back to you with a PO, Donna. Actually, they can just make out the PO to me and I’ll arrange it. (It’s OK, just leave the amount line blank. I’ll fill it in once I get a final answer from the IMAX people.) Wait, we might want to check if we can get a cheaper one from Europe.

Allan Regehr is an expert on the City. Well, maybe not an expert. But he knows how the city works. He urges Council to get things done and  is rather prescient about the length of time to finish the South Bridge (his letter was submitted before the “whoops, we won’t finish the bridge till July 31, 2013” story which I am not forgetting about despite the fact it was released on a Friday before the long weekend.). He’s upset about the effect the finished bridge will have upon the Circle/Ave C/Idylwyld intersection (a valid concern) and angry that the engineer he contacted didn’t have a solution. I think there was a report on this intersection in a previous agenda, and it’s a big terrible mess but there’s no room to put in a proper cloverleaf intersection without buying out a lot of lucrative business property.

(I should really brush up on the law as pertaining to libel and/or slander. I think I’m covered under fair comment here but not entirely sure as technically I’m not a journalist.)

The Broadway BID wants to be sole vendor for an event, Broadway Spirit of Christmas 2012. They are also wishing to close 11th Street between Broadway and Dufferin. It’s unclear if the jumping green men will be present.

Now some notices of Appeals Board Hearings.

D&S Homes is trying to build a care home that exceeds the maximum site coverage zoned for that property (4.825% over).

Ryan Thiessen, owner of 66 & 68 Davidson Crescent, is trying to shoehorn a 3rd unit into a 2-unit building without a permit.

1302/1304 Avenue D North is another illegal four-unit dwelling conversion. They’re complying with the order but want more time to fix it.

The rest are all fairly generic, the usual setback or site coverage or parking deficiencies.

p. 369. Mr Daniel Hagen, of Bornstein Cres. has some comments about bridges. He is in favour of raising taxes by 1% to specifically target the infrastructure deficit, and an additional 1% for the North Bridge. Incidentally Mr Hagen’s address is on file in the agenda, those of you who feel your tax load is unjust.

Allan Herman is doing the math and is not pleased with the results of the latest infrastructure report.

Jonas Kiedrowski congratulates the Mayor on his election but is concerned with his comments on CBC dismissing the concerns of the people who did not vote for him. Mr Kiedrowski can also do math, and points out that with the current turnout, only 19% of voters chose Mr Atchison as mayor.

Don Sturm wants to know “what is up” with the entrance to the City from the west side. It’s not very…cohesive.

Shelby Trautman believes that if we were to invest in a more efficient system it will be a benefit to the city. High-fives to Shelby. She’s tired of receiving vague platitudes. We all are, Shelby. We all are.

Alex Pfeifer thinks we need to have a police presence directing traffic at Sask Place for all events, not just the major ones. He’s also concerned with pushy motorists endangering themselves by not respecting (or acknowledging) the physics involved with the operation of large semi tractors and trailers that are also present at the Husky station.

Shane Kartz is from Hampton Village and he is convinced the city is trying to make lives miserable for the residents therein. His letter is quite detailed. It involves stop signs and lines of vehicles over a kilometre long. He also threatens to smack himself over the head with a hammer if the situation isn’t resolved. You’re doing it wrong, Shane. You have to threaten to smack someone else. If you take yourself out of commission, all the City gets is less irate missives, so there’s little incentive for them to acknowledge your concerns.

Christine White is concerned about the speeding on McClocklin Road. Motorists aren’t stopping for children to cross the road (at a crosswalk) in order to get to school.

Charlcie Vidmar has had her garbage can run over and the city is not replacing it quickly enough. (The wheels are smashed off so she can’t drag it up into her yard.)  There are a lot of exclamation points used here.

Pat Tymchatyn is angry that Idylwyld traffic northbound is blocking the 31st street intersection during rush hour(s).

Margi Corbett is inquiring about the current status of Parcel Y.

Jennifer Jungwirth has some suggestions for the improvement of the Circle Drive – Airport Drive intersection.

Anita Hrytsak didn’t get her garbage picked up this week (September 25th). Neither did her neighbours. She would like to know when they plan on coming back? Please come back.

Marie Villeneau wants to know when Junor & 37th street will be opened.

Reid Schmidt is disappointed that there will still be an at-grade railway crossing as part of the Circle Drive South project. Wait, we will have an at-grade crossing there? Has anyone been on the Ring Road, like, ever?

We have a couple letters about Fairmont and 22nd St intersection, which has been resolved if news reports are correct. I am relieved.

Elsie Hanel-Jones is upset that the city is thinking about tossing out two faithful golf course employees. Also Holiday Park in particular is looking terribly shabby these days.

Tamara Wiebe wants traffic lights on Highway 11 and Warman Road (another person who refuses to use the name “Wanuskewin”) (Look, I like Wanuskewin, It is a lovely place. I don’t care for renaming roads halfway through the intersection just because.)

Jacklyn Regnier is embarrassed at the level of service 105th Street receives, specifically concerning street cleaning. Her car is dirty and she will not be voting for Mayor Atchison in her first election for which she is eligible to vote. It’s like we live in some backwards flat town…oh.

Joe Penner had a very bad surprise on the exit off Warman Road to Circle Drive East. It “turns suddenly into a sharp corner without warning”. This is alarming to me, as I use that exit often and I’m concerned about any sharp corners that may be installed there. Anyways, he ended up on the boulevard across the road in a “totalled off” car and his wife has a broken hand. I am trying to figure how he did this in my head and I’m saddened he didn’t include some sort of diagram. At any rate, he’s written a letter to council, so his wife’s hand is, er, in their hands. After close reading, the injury is implied to be a result of the crash but not specifically stated so. Someone should have a city lawyer call up and clarify that. It could be important later.
Gary Harbottle is upset that the Circle and Clancy Drive intersection will be restricted for the foreseeable future due to the Circle Drive South project. I hope Gary doesn’t get his hopes up that they’ll open it up over the winter.

Bret Donnelly got lost trying to go to Rosetown and wants some better signs showing the detour around the Shaw Centre. Or, he would have been lost if he didn’t live here.

Miss Gladys Hall has called the “HOT LINE” and has further information pertaining to the “rodent infested trash pile” on 2nd Avenue North between 25th and 24th. She has included a helpful and detailed map of the area. It’s across from the Pat, insert trash-pile joke here.

Lorena Friesen lives in Stonebridge and works at RUH. She is trying to take the bus to work, but the buses fill up at Place Riel and blow by her without stopping while she is waiting at College and Munroe. There’s a half-hour wait between buses and she doesn’t have enough time to boot it to Place before the bus leaves there. I am sure that the current Remembrance Day-themed messages on the bus LED displays are not helping. “Lest We Forget” indeed. She also has children and every half-hour is precious. Come on, buses, just stop for her.

Courtney Reinhardt has a creative solution for garbage at the landfill. She wants to build a “Pre-Loved Depot” for things people don’t want anymore but that other people can still use. OK, she finishes it off with stating she is in grade 10. I would very likely have written the same letter at her age. (Wait till she finds out that the charity she donates her used clothing to most likely just sells her good intentions to the rag merchants. We are drowning in cheap shit here. There’s a reason why Reduce is the first R.)

Iva Beck would like the Lakewood pool to be salt, instead of chlorine (she’s allergic.)

The Water Finance Research Foundation, with a truly awful letterhead, would like to submit a report about water main break rates in North America. If you’re interested, it starts on p. 399. It’s actually somewhat interesting?

Ken Ellis has a grievance about his Evergreen lot. He bought it, realized that it wasn’t a good fit, and then returned it to the store, he estimates, 6 months later. Unfortunately the store charged him a restocking fee, it appears, of some 13 grand and change. And then the store turned around and sold it for 17 grand more than he paid for it. (He states that this is “ludicrous” but if the City were indeed a private business, this would be termed “good business practice” and applauded by the shareholders.) He’s thinking about going to the local press (journalists take note). I am not quite sure of his next point but I believe his premise is that if the City sold the lots for a third of their market value, the bedroom communities wouldn’t be booming and the city would have all this glorious taxable new properties for themselves. Ourselves? Itself? Anyways he gets in a crack about how Saskatoon is just copying Calgary. Zing!

I am so glad that Ken Ellis and I agree on the importance of government-subsidized affordable housing. It is an affront that the government is asking us to pay market value for a public good.

(But seriously, I am somewhat interested to find out whether they ripped Mr Ellis off or if there is indeed a “restocking fee”.)

More Fairlight/Fairmont/Diefenbaker/22nd St traffic woes. There are a surprising amount of letters this month concerning this so I wonder what is going on down there.
The Andres would like to know if they can just add a teensy bit of lane on Circle Drive northbound between Taylor and 8th so they wouldn’t have to do the pesky merge-thing every time they want to go to the Centre mall. Related: did you know the parkade under the Circle Centre mall has 2 levels?? SORCERY. Well, not sorcery, just engineering. Now I need a reason to go to the Centre mall.

Joanne Schenn, bus pass #147526, chooses to ride the bus from Erindale downtown for work. (High five, Joanne.) However, her experience riding transit has become “impossible, unsafe and unpleasant”. She would like the University Only buses to scour the route first and strain out the students like so much plankton. This way she will have a place to sit or stand without being compressed or pushed over.

John Allen hopes that the newly-elected Council will not cater exclusively to the “ultra-rich”. He also calls out Mr Atchison’s comments on the 47% who did not vote for him and brings up the spectre of Mitt Romney’s similar remarks. Unfortunately for Mr Romney he made the key mistake of uttering this before the election instead of afterwards.

Adam Libke is frustrated with the pathetic level of service received in trying to pave 2 squares of sidewalk. Adam is in Ward 7; I suggest he get in touch with Councillor Loewen, if he hasn’t already done so. She can be surprisingly effective with cases like this, which is good, since it’s her job. Based on my impressive Google Map deducing skills, this is the offending sidewalk and offending alley.

Man, I sure hope they update those Google Maps images soon, otherwise I’m going to be making some unkind assumptions about the level of landscaping present in that fair suburb.

Trevor Larose has lived in both Edmonton and Cold Lake and says our current recycling situation is “well below either standard”. My sister lived in Cold Lake for a couple years and trust me, being below Cold Lake standards is not an accolade. He wants to know why we’re so far behind, but fortunately we have reams and reams of documentation, and past city council agendas, to prove it.

Here comes the snow-removal letters. I’m not going to summarize each one, I’ll just cherry-pick the best repartee.

Shauna Beattie, formerly of New Brunswick, is astonished we don’t plow the residential roads. She is also amazed that some people here clear their sidewalks with “LEAF BLOWERS”, instead of a shovel, implying laziness on their part. Especially when we get much less snow than NB. (Seriously though, guys. Leaf blowers?) Her letter is pretty great, actually, p. 434. This is what 6 million bucks gets you, Shauna. (Also, nice touch on the children part. That always plays well.)

Now we are being compared to Winnipeg. The indignities will never cease. Winnipeg salts their streets like McDonald’s does their fries – early and often. Saskatoon salts our streets like they’re heart-healthy.

Ramona wants to know why the graders will leave a spot for her neighbours’ driveways but don’t clear a concurrent space for her car. (She doesn’t have a driveway.) I guess 6 million bucks only gets you a certain level of consideration from the grader operator.

Time for the Edmonton comparison. They have 130 sanding trucks, 20-30 plows etc. Taxes in Edmonton are also lower, she adds, to pour (road) salt in the wound.

Brian would like to know in advance if his left-turn arrow suggestion for Diefenbaker and Fairlight is going to get shot down.

Phyllis Schmidt would like to have signs posted on the bus that no swearing and/or foul talk is permitted. Also, the bus driver was listening to the radio and it was on too loud and she had to hear an interview with “a witch” as well as some “heavy metal music”. Her third request is that the advertising on bus windows be moved up so that she can see out and know where she is. I agree, window perf is technically see-through, but only when the conditions outside are lighter than the environment inside. As for the witches, I can’t really help there. I’ve watched 5.5 seasons of Buffy but that’s it.
Alana Zimmerman moved to Evergreen and is dismayed to find out that there is no bus service there. Since she is a student, she is paying to take the bus which doesn’t exist (yet, we hope). I’d make a crack about subsidies cutting both ways here, but I remember being a student. I’d make another crack about Evergreenwashing but I’ve done that already in other venues. And I just did it here. Again. Moving on.

(Seriously though, your main selling point for Evergreen is that it’s a “sustainable development” and you can’t even get public transit out there? Oh great, now I’m the one yelling at the city administration.)

The fluoride/florine/floride/flouride brigade (platoon?) is out in fine feather this month.

Westcon is concerned about the 60th Street and Idylwyld. I agree, having the three way stop there is dumb and does not accommodate large trucks. He also says it’s a speed trap and that the speed limit should be higher on the service road.

The rest is just proclamations of assorted days, weeks, or months to celebrate/commemorate/bring awareness to assorted causes, diseases, and organizations. I must leave you here because Autism Services has written in, using their letterhead, featuring their giant logo in Comic Sans, and I am now blind.

463 pages. I’m not feeling particularly funny tonight but I’ll give it a whack anyways, see what falls out.

Jennifer Hueser has won a scholarship; so have Kourtney and Krista Fesser. Also we have won a Planning Excellence Award, hopefully not for Willowgrove.

Welp here’s our first big whammy. Right away too, not buried in the back. They want to re-establish the debt limit for the City at $414 million.

INT. DAY

HENRY DAYDAY sits at a dining room table, alone. He is playing tic-tac-toe on a yellow legal pad against himself. He jerks upright; his shoulders convulse and his hands close into fists, breaking the pencil. The fit passes. Glancing around, he reaches up to comb his hair back into place. Only then does he look down and see, written on the pad, “414000000”.

Ha ha, just kidding. This is Business as Usual. I know this because under “FINANCIAL IMPACT” it says “There is no financial impact”. Actually here are the rest of the options. (Hot tip: there are no options.)

OPTIONS TO THE RECOMMENDATION
There are no options.
POLICY IMPLICATIONS
There are no policy implications.
FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS
There are no financial implications.
PUBLIC AND/OR STAKEHOLDER INVOLVEMENT
There is no public or stakeholder involvement.
FINANCIAL IMPACT
There is no financial impact.
COMMUNICATION PLAN
There is no communication plan.
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS
There are no environmental and/or greenhouse gas implications.
PRIVACY IMPACT
There is no privacy implication.

GET IT TOGETHER, CITY.

This is the current debt limit, they just have to approve it again. Standard operating procedure. I’m not going to get into the debt stuff here since I am not qualified or inclined to discuss it at this moment. I just hope everyone knows what they are doing.

Some land use applications, page 6. Condos going in Marquis Industrial…wait, what? Where? Blairmore, oh, and a care home for Evergreen (for a numbered company). Darcy’s 23rd Street Service wants to expand to a neighbouring lot. Willowgrove might be getting a care home. Something on 7th St which I think came up earlier this year. And some subdivisions out in Fairhaven. Subdivision subdivision subdivision, more things you may care about if you live near 115 Willowgrove Crescent, 908 Sask Crescent, 625 52nd St E, 418, 502 and 510 51st street east, or 132 and 140 Idylwyld Drive North.

What, another page of subdivisions? OK, I am just jumping to the letters now. We’ll return to page 9 of the fractally-inspired requests later.

***
Heh, heh. Those were some great letters. Great! Actually just OK. No jumping green men. Lots of flouride. Poor Mr Jorgenson.
***

One of the subdivision requests is for 112 109th St West, I wonder if that was the unfortunate arson target earlier this week. (I bet the City approves the request anyways.)

p 12 is the Naming Report. Rosewood is getting “Jeanneau Way”. Yes,  you heard that right. In case you didn’t hear it, I suggest you say it out loud. I imagine the city naming committee is just standing around in a circle at this point, giving each other high-fives. Kolynchuk, Pringle, Dawes, and Veltkamp are the other names. FYI “Pringle Bend” is forever going to be referred to as “Hyperbolic Paraboloid” in this household. Page 13 is the start of the bios, if you wanted to Jeanneau more.

p. 13 Please stop naming streets “Manor”. Your house may be a pressed-cornflake castle but that doesn’t mean you get to pretend it’s an estate. You know what, I will amend that. You can pretend it’s an estate, and I get to judge you.

[cornflakes break]

Section B on page 15. Here’s the corporate services. DynaIndustrial (all one word) would like to have a tax break for their building expansion. So would Deca Industries. In case you were wondering how this ties in with the Strategic Plan, it falls under the Economic Diversity and Prosperity section. Specifically, the part where it “demonstrates the City’s commitment to a business or industry”. The city has put a price tag on this commitment at $38,000 of deferred taxes.

p. 18 I think is about issuing some bonds. [Googles] OK yes, “debenture” is, according to Wikipedia, “a document that either creates a debt or acknowledges it and it is a debt without collateral.” (You can all stop shouting definitions at your screen now.) This falls under the city’s Strategic Goal of Investing in What Matters (itself). The AAA credit rating is also mentioned in here. Gee, I sure hope those guys at S&P are on the up and up.  The Administration would like to use the bond money to get a UV disinfection system, a new water intake, a sludge recovery facility and a standby generator, among others. Aaaand the Circle Drive South River Crossing (land purchase). That’s 18 mil for that piece of land, in case you missed that whole, er, plotline.

The city should issue more bonds, really. Call them “Saskatoon Shares”. We could be the first publicly-owned city…wait.

p. 22 is the IBEW contract changes. No, it is not. It is a thing announcing the contract changes but not the contract itself. That is later in this PDF. Sorry to get you all excited there, just keep sharpening your union-bashing sticks.

p. 23 involves the Food Bank Drive, some tasteful signs, and Robin Bellamy. He is back at work and wants modifications to the temporary sign bylaw so he can put up some signs advertising the Food Drive. The administration points out that if they change the bylaw for Mr Bellamy’s initiative they have to change it for all charitable organizations. It doesn’t look good for Mr Bellamy. And there’s another solid 4 months before better biking weather. I am not sure how he will manage to advertise this event without boulevard signs, but I suspect Mr Bellamy is a man of many talents.

p. 25 is the results of Bev Dubois’ inquiry into the intersection of Muzyka and Stensrud – whether it requires a four-way stop. In case Ms Dubois is reading this, no, it does not qualify for a four-way stop. They are putting in a rodeo clown barrel – sorry, a traffic-calming island – and a “standard crosswalk”. I can’t offer any personal experience at that intersection aside from the fact I had a delightful time sliding through it last week.

p. 28 The city is finally closing the walkway between Fairlight Drive and Stone Court. This falls under the Strategic Goal of “Quality of Life”, whereas the “long-term strategy” is to “reduce and prevent crime and provide protective services in our downtown core and neighbourhoods.” (Curiously, they do not cite another portion of the Strategic Plan. The “Moving Around” goal emphasizes the importance of connectivity for all travel modes, especially ones that encourage walking and cycling.) It will cost $6000 to close this walkway.

Here is the offending walkway:

From the Google Maps aerial view it looks like they’ve already closed it. That was quick. (Zoom in for maximum effect)

Speaking as someone who uses walkways a fair bit, I’m glad I read the full agenda. Otherwise, unless it’s on my street, I would not know about closures until it happened, and I’d be forced to walk several blocks out of my way. I live on a cul-de-suck [sic totally intended] and I must walk 3 blocks out of my way to go anywhere north of where I live, thanks to the trailer park. I have to walk through the trailer park anyways! We might as well put a walkway through. Personally I’m more terrified of the people on the next street over who view the sidewalks as convenient vehicle storage. I was nearly mashed by an individual who drove nose in up onto the sidewalk rather than parallel park in the usual fashion. This was not anywhere near a driveway, by the way.

p 35 Lane is closing at Weldon Avenue. Oof it’s taken me two hours to get this far. I must be more succinct up in here.

p. 37 onto the highly contentious closure of Range Road 3045 between Keedwell and Agra. (Fun fact, I typed that Rage Road and it’s not entirely unsuitable, see comments/letters from residents to be revealed later in this agenda.) I know Keedwell, it’s the street I kept going the wrong way on while trying to find my sister’s new domicile in Willowgrove, the Area That Must Not Be Named Because It Isn’t Named Because of the Stupid Naming System. Yes, I am still mad about that evening. Fortunately the closure of Rage Road is no longer contentious since they finished the extension of McOrmond Drive. Also fun fact: I did not know there was a group of rugged individualists, living off the land north of Evergreen along the river banks.

Aerial view of survivalist hamlet, complete with bouncy castle (again, zoom in for max effect):

This recommendation has “positive greenhouse gas emissions implications” as “traffic will not be able to access the closed road”. Permit me a moment of high-horseyness here as I say that closing this section of road will not make the residents of Riversedge reconsider the drive into town. They will just take the other route. On the other hand, I know a way we can instantly reduce most, if not all, of our greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. I suspect it may not be very popular but you’ll get used to it soon enough. Although those of us who live within walking distance of Costco may benefit more than others. Which reminds me, I must look into a sled suitable for grocery-hauling. I live 1.8 km from a grocery store and it’s completely unacceptable to me that I have to drive there. Also I want a sled for when the apocalypse happens. Related: I have been reading accounts of the gas shortage in NYC today and I want no part of that scene. $20-100 per gallon? Fights?

[we now pause while I set up a Kijiji alert for “skis AND OR sled AND OR snowshoes”]

[700 ads about snowmobiles later]

I’m going to end it here, because now I am going to upgrade my current x-c setup by contacting strangers on the internet and convincing them I am not the usual flaky Kijiji buyer. $80 will upgrade my current x-c setup into something that’s only 2.5-3 decades old, as opposed to a solid 4.