Archives for posts with tag: letters

Here I am. I’m all hopped up on beer and discount Easter candy, so I’m  in a great mood to read the letters to council this week.

Alan Thomarat wishes to speak to council next week. (He’s the head of the home builder’s association in Saskatoon.) Since it is Alan Thomarat’s desire to completely blanket the greater Saskatoon area with bestuccoed pressed-cornflake castles, I imagine we all know what he is going to say.  Hello Mr Thomarat! I’m sure you’re doing exactly what you get paid to do and a good job of it as well.

Next, a letter with U of R letterhead. It’s from the Faculty of Social Work, Saskatoon campus. They would like to discuss the adoption of an anti-bullying bylaw. While I most emphatically agree that bullying is a terrible, tragic, and ultimately needless form of persecution that is perpetuated by members of society at all ages and stages of life, I wonder if the adoption of a bylaw would be merely symbolic. (As we all know, bylaws are nothing without enforcement in our current society, my lawn get off it etc. etc.) At any rate, as this is a mainly symbolic gesture I expect Council will fall all over themselves getting it passed.

Apparently the  town of Hanna has an anti-bullying bylaw. Ha, you were expecting me to make a Nickelback joke there, weren’t you? Snoopopaths. You can get fined $100 for being a bully in Hanna, and $250 if it’s not your first offence. No, I am not going to make a Nickelback joke. It’s too predictable, like toothpaste Oreos on April 1.

Jazzfest is June 21 to July 1st this summer. They’re applying for an extension under the noise bylaw. I will be making a very small part of that noise as I have two tickets to Metric this year! Eleven years I have been living in this city and this is the first time I’ve been to Jazzfest. Other things I have managed to avoid doing so far: eating at the Blue Diamond, hearing the Sheepdogs, having my bike stolen, and getting propositioned by a bunch of skeevy dudes in a van on Idylwyld. Oh wait, the last one actually happened. (It was a long night of dancing at the Branch and there were no cabs, a situation we are all familiar with. So we decided to walk home to College Drive at 2 am. In January. In bar clothes. We got to 24th and 2nd before the rest of our friends showed up, in a cab. As you can guess, I am very much for increasing the number of cab licenses.)

Montgomery is holding a “Celebrating our Veterans and Community Heritage” day in the park. They want to set off some fireworks after 10 pm.  I dunno, you guys. This seems risky. Are you sure?

HMCS Unicorn is notifying Council of the Battle of the Atlantic, scheduled to take place on May 5th, 2013. Wait, what? Oh, it’s the 70th anniversary. Fun fact: Saskatoon is special when it comes to the Navy – we have a boat named after us. (The reason why the naval outpost in Saskatoon is named HMCS Unicorn is that we have more chance of seeing that particular ungulate in Saskatoon rather than the eponymous boat.) The Wiki link about HMCS Saskatoon is brief but informative – the captain’s desk is named Cranberry Flats and Idylwyld Drive is one of the main corridors on the ship. I suppose we can all guess what is the maritime equivalent of Bare-Ass Beach. The top speed of HMCS Saskatoon is a vigorous 27.78 km/h, which makes it a good poster child for the 30 km/h safe neighbourhoods speed limit zone initiative. (I want 30 km/h zones in all neighbourhoods. I figure this should prevent me from ever running for council.)

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church (Foot of the Broadway Bridge tm) wants an extension under the noise bylaw, but unlike those hoodlums and yahoos in Montgomery, they want to start before 11 am. If you live near Friendship Park, prepare to be converted by the power of their worship starting at 10:35 am on May 26th which is not May Long, thank…uh, thank Odin, I guess. Some things are still sacred.

Ashu M. G. Solo has filed a human rights complaint, officially, against the city. Oh goodie. I can hardly wait for more hateful, racist rhetoric directed against this individual. I don’t much care for his methods or hill he has chosen to die on, but certain people who declare themselves Christians are the ones who are letting down the side here. I think some people have made the mistake that since I have been known to exhibit snark, I am down with racism and bullying. Let me assure you that this is altogether not the case, and if I have given you any cause to presuppose this, please let me know what I have done or said that I may rectify it.

Tourism Saskatoon is submitting their audited financial statements, if you care. ( I know you do.) It’s on p. 430.

An individual, from, uh, TrojanOne, wants to have a ball-hockey tournament on May 25th. I am not making this up. TrojanOne is “a full-services marketing agency…[who] works with blue-chip clients to plan, develop, execute and evaluate integrated brand marketing solutions, comprising all aspects of sponsorship, event and promotional marketing, from strategic planning and program creation through to communications support and program evaluation.” I have just realized that I am in the entirely wrong field. OK. Let me just say this. You are a brand managing consultancy and you picked the one word that is irrevocably associated with a popular prophylactic. I just…I just…I just feel like there is some negative synergy here. Do you guys feel it? Okay, maybe it is just me.

Saskatchewan in motion (their italics, not mine) have submitted a letter urging Council and the administration to provide opportunities for kids to be physically active and to have safe routes to school and play. I think a lot of woes could be solved or avoided by having infrastructure in place so that children of school age can get to and from school by themselves. Yes, that’s right, I want children to die. (I’m just trying to build up a large stable of controversial statements that can be used against me should I ever fall ill and decide to run for office.)

p. 459 is the agenda for the AGM of the Mendel Art Gallery.

p. 463 is the beginning of a deluge of outraged Avenue I residents who are upset at Councillor Davies’ suggestion last meeting that Avenue I be attached to Circle Drive in order to facilitate Ward 4 traffic flow. I feel that Mr Davies is learning a hard lesson in brand management here. As someone who uses Avenue I occasionally as a bike route to get over to Confed, I concur with their observations that Avenue I is in need of some traffic management already. (Also I have a special fondness for that area since I like the idea of living on Avenue H for purely eponymous reasons.) I won’t go into each individual letter here, but it’s heartening to see a group of citizens who pay close attention to what comes out of councilpersons’ mouths during a publicly broadcast meeting.

Now we have some notices of hearing. Who is being naughty this month?

A developer in Evergreen wants to put up a buttress. Yes, you read that correctly. They want to attach a buttress to their building. Are buttresses a thing now? I feel like they should be a thing. Buttresses.

Yet another person is trying to make their entire backyard into a garage. This happens so frequently, it’s unfortunate. People: stop trying to make your backyards into garages. It’s not cool, and you’re wasting Shellie Bryant’s time. If you want your entire backyard to be a garage you can’t live in the suburbs. I’m afraid that’s how it works.

Good heavens. A billboard company wants to put up a digital billboard at 25th and Idylwyld. Fortunately the city has not allowed it since there is another billboard close by, but the company is appealing the ruling. In case you missed it, I absolutely loathe electronic billboards. I hate them so, so much. It fills me with joy when they malfunction. They are nasty, distracting, and unnecessary, and I boycott companies that advertise on them. How they are ever allowed, I am not sure. You cannot even see the traffic lights in front of them. Incidentally, if you feel as strongly as I do, send a letter to the Secretary, Development Appeals Board, City Clerk’s Office, City Hall, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7K OJ5 or email development.appeals.board@saskatoon.ca. For further information etc. call 975-2783.

Spring is in the air – Councillor Paulsen is receiving letters about the Crocus Park spray pad. This time, it is from Dr Peter Hull, a dermatologist and professor at the U of S. He works 12-hour days at the hospital and feels like the use of the spray park is violating his right to have a peaceful environment as well as the Noise Bylaw. He wants a wall around it and does not care if that causes a surge in crime as the rink behind the school is not visible from the road and there has not been a surge in crime there. You know, I have disagreed often with Myles Heidt in the past, but I am becoming rather fond of his phrase “if you want good bus service,  you should buy a house on a bus route.” Aside from recommending that you look up the location of said spray park, I am just going to leave it at that. Far be it from me to take on a dermatologist.

The next letter, from Avenue K N, contains this delightful sentence: “I find it offensive and discriminatory that your eBill system is not set up to deal with Macintosh computers.” This man, he does not mince words. He knows how to get results from a bureaucracy.

Ms Kempt is in favour of food trucks and further suggests that they be allowed in construction zones.

One of the owners of the Hollows, Christie Peters, has a refreshingly erudite submission vis à vis food trucks. She begins with how difficult it is to obtain restaurant premises in Saskatoon – a good point that has not been raised yet, as far as I am aware – and is in favour of reducing the buffer zone to 15 m. She would be happy to see food trucks in her neighbourhood, across the street even, as it would help bring more people in. Also she notes that there is no law barring current restaurant operators from investing in a truck or two either.  She finishes by saying that competition drives the market; currently quick lunch choices are mainly fast-food; and it would be a preferable alternative to drive-thrus. Man, if the Hollows started a food truck I would quit my job and follow that thing around the entire city all day. Not just because of the letter, their food is terrific and they have no worries about competition in their demographic. I’d have a hard time deciding between Bliss, the Hollows, and Prairie Harvest as my favourite fancier place to eat. And yeah, I’ve been to Truffles, Calories, and Weczeria. Let’s not turn this into a food debate, I’m so tired of winning.

The next letter is from someone with the address on the 2100 block of Easthill, which is not a typo as I’d initially thought. Upon perusal of a map, what is going on down in that corner of Eastview? Easthill is like six streets all joined up. Wait. Oh god. All of Eastview is like that. Most of Eastview was developed during the 1960s, under the influence of heavy LSD use I presume. Anyways, this resident with an unfortunate address is thankful for the efforts made by city workers and private contractors to keep the streets cleared this year. If you’d like to know this individual’s name so you can, er, manage his brand, it’s on page 487 of the agenda.

Dr Monte Pishny-Floyd lives on Albert Avenue and has a letter about snow removal.  Both he and his wife are past 70 and due to various health issues are unable to shovel snow or drag out their bins. Fortunately the city staff in that area are sensitive to their situation and have made allowances. Alas, the dastardly weekend snow-clearing crew did not, and managed to neatly impede both their vehicular progress and their garbage collection by means of a windrow of sludge. Dismayed, the professor (since retired) contacted the City and had an employee on his doorstep in a matter of hours, who promptly removed the snow. If you’re wondering why his name sounds familiar, Dr Pishny-Floyd is a composer and was a professor in the Department of Music at the University for many years.

On a different note, Glen from Regina drove up for a bonspiel and got a parking ticket, curling matches being incompatible with a 2-hour time frame. There is a parking lot within an easy ten-minute walk wherein one can park all day but I’m unsure as to whether Glen has any mobility issues so we’ll leave it at that. “Bonspiel” translates to “good story” and this is not true in this case. (Your translation may vary.)

Mr Rahman, P. Eng, is questioning the size restriction on secondary suites (700 sq ft.) and requesting that it be increased to at least 1000 due to the fact that you have to squeeze in a stair, laundry room, and mechanical room (or so he claims). OK, so I’m curious. I found the guidelines for upgrading a secondary suite and it says that the basement itself must have a gross floor area (including the basement) of at least 100 square metres (1076 sq ft.) in order to qualify.  The secondary suite itself must not exceed 65 sq m (700 sq ft rounding up.) I think as long as he can manage to fit the mechanical and laundry rooms outside the suite he should be ok. I mean, why would you want to have your furnace located in the suite, as you’d have to provide 24 hour notice in order to enter and maintain it (unless the resident of the suite is there to grant access at the time of entry)?

River’s Edge, they of the bouncy castles, would like to thank the City for letting them enter it. Having seen some of the pictures of Range Road 3045 in the weeks after this letter was written (March 6th) I wonder if at any point forthwith they regretted sending this.

Holiday Park Community Association (which has a logo that looks like that bit in Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory with the “square candies that look round”) would like to recycle styrofoam in the blue bins since they buy an awful lot of it. I agree, styrofoam is terrible, but if you soak it in gasoline and then set it on fire you can enrage all environmentalists within a five-mile radius. Do not do this or I will be forced to visit you in the small hours and put a bat up your night-dress.

Patricia has a nice letter about how she moved to Saskatoon one year ago, how much she likes it here, how she’s lived in many small northern communities across Canada, and how ineffective the snow removal and her councillor are. Patricia lives in Briarwood, on Braeburn Court, a small loop off Braeburn Crescent, which connects Braeburn Court and Braeburn Place to Braeside View. Braeside View loops around and joins Braemar Crescent and its children, Braemar Place, Braemar Court and Braemar Bay, to Briarwood Road. Pay attention though, because Braeshire Lane and its offshoot, Braeshire Rise, also exit onto Braeside View, as well as smaller appendices such as Braeside Place, Braeside View, Braeside Terrace, Braeside Bay and Braeside Court. (That is not a typo. Braeside View is a tiny crescent connecting to Braeside View. This will all be on the test.) The other end of Braeside View (the main street) connects to Briargate Road which connects to – but no, I shall spare you. The quality of mercy is not strain’d; it droppeth as the gentle snow from heaven.

You know, I’m really not sure I can ever top that previous paragraph. I’ve peaked, everyone. Go home.

Sue Letwin laments the lack of Citycards for the parking meters. She doesn’t go downtown anymore since they discontinued them. I admire a good boycott effort as much as the next person. (Aside: did you know there is someone on Kijiji buying up any old Citycards for $50 a pop, regardless of balance? My god, these things are like gold.) Anyway, time for my downtown parking diatribe. Cheap parking is not going to get more people to shop downtown, as those who are cost-conscious are just schlepping themselves to the suburban box stores anyways. Permit me to generalize. They are not interested in shopping at boutiques (except Lululemon). It is useless to offer reduced or free rates to lure these people as it will simply result in a race to the bottom (THIS ALSO APPLIES TO THE BUSINESS TAX DEBATE AHEM YOU ARE SUBSIDIZING MEDIOCRITY). Turnover is key and free parking is antithetical to good turnover rates. Even coffee shops expect you to buy something occasionally (and now I see more and more “reminders” to patrons about this.) The exception is Tim Horton’s, the big box of coffee shops, where you can fritter away your afternoon without any consequences.

Barbara from Botting Bay is wondering if there is a bylaw that requires all lots to be developed in an area within a certain period of time. (I’ll pause for you to collectively wipe off your screens.) Her house was built in 2009 and there is still an empty lot in the bay! Well, to be precise, it’s not empty. It’s full of weeds and dirt. And regret, presumably. Be kind to Barbara. She lives in Willowgrove and is not used to the harsh realities of city life.

Mr Potter is confused about the special garbage collection situation. I’m confused too, and I’m really sure the city is confused, if the amount of media releases in my inbox are any metric. Garbage! What is it, really? Whence doth it came? Wherefore might it leave?

Debbie on Avenue K has several vehicles on her street that have not moved in months and yet her brother’s truck, parked for a scant 48 hours outside her house, gets hauled away. I could respond sententiously with a “Life’s not fair”, but that’s not very nice to Debbie. Report those bastards, Debbie. The phone number for Parking Enforcement is 306-975-8344 and I can confirm that they are lovely people who like getting tips.

Gwen has cancer and can’t haul her bins to the back or the front and she doesn’t have any neighbours who will help. She’d like to be put on the list of people who are unable to manage for themselves but this list is full (really, City?) and she helpfully points out some of her other neighbours who are on the list and are able to shovel their property with no problems. Gwen lives at 2809 Arlington Ave, if anybody who is planning to challenge Mairin Loewen next election would like to get some brownie points.

Brendan is wondering if the police are aware that there are two “Bawdy” shops on 33rd as well as one on Idylwyld. Don’t worry, good sir, the police are zealously checking up on these places and issuing any unlicensed prostitutes fines. One wonders where the money to pay the fines comes from when they could just pay the license fee in the first place and not be hassled, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Steve O, from Wakabayashi Way (side note: a lot of home businesses are based on this street) wants a light at some point between 51st and 71st so he can get onto Millar. Probably not the worst idea, as the median speed down Millar is most definitely above the limit.

Craig Allan has three (3) grievances. People entering the intersection when the light is red (boo), people who are speeding (hiss) and the third one is snow removal (surprise!). He wants photo radar and residential snow clearing. AMEN. He does say people enter the intersection when the light is “partially or totally red” which is a rather interesting situation. These partially red lights must be located down in Eastview.

Lorene has been gaming Loraas Recycling by slightly overfilling her bin, but now that they’re contracted out for the city they’re refusing to put up with her schemes. She’s threatening to toss her recycling into the garbage. If only there were another place that you could drop off at least some of your recycling. Sadly this situation appears to be without any sort of solution.

Kurt wants to know what is up with the deforestation of the downtown. I would make a snarky remark here about trees generally not growing so hot in the winter but I have more class than that. He also notes that it appears that the City buys their roadway paint from Giant Tiger (my words). I think there was a shortage of paint last year or the year before, if I remember correctly, so a lot of lanes went unrefreshed while the City scrambled to find a new supplier.

Now we’re onto some proclamations. These are actually quite good, as they go.

The first is from enrique gaudite (the lack of caps means he’s a creative). He would like the City to declare May 25th as “World Interiors Day” as sanctioned by the idc (also no caps), the interior designers of canada (ditto). Sadly this letter is not set in Comic Sans, but in Helvetica, as proscribed by all serious creatives. He attaches a sweet-ass Proclamation from the Mayor of New York (now they know how to make a statement) declaring May 25th as “WORLD INTERIORS DAY”. The entire Proclamation is set in ALL CAPS because they are BOSS.

The Saskatoon Chimo Chordsmen – stay with me here – would like next week to be proclaimed Barbershop Harmony Week. We now pause while I read up on barbershop quartets since I don’t really know anything about them except that they wear bright colours and boater hats and there’s usually four people involved. OK. Weeeoooo. Like a lot of good music, barbershop quartets were appropriated from black culture and then incorporated into white culture via minstrel shows (aka blackface). I’m reasonably sure it’s no longer racist, but it definitely is wack. Ho ho, they even had the boaters to submit a blank Proclamation for the Mayor to fill out and sign. Too bad it says “March” so we can’t use it. Looks like their harmonies are the only thing they’ve got together. (If I go missing, question the quartets first.)

The next letter is from the Saskatchewan Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, asking May to be declared Hearing Awareness Month. Serendipitously, this is to start after the Barbershop Harmony Week.

The Institute of Internal Auditors (for a second there I was in Latin mode and thought another hearing-related thing) would like May to be also declared International Internal Audit Awareness Month. I like auditors, especially auditors that report to the public. Bonnie Lysyk, Kevin Page, and Sheila Fraser, to name a few. You guys are terrific. We love you. No really, we do. Where are you going? Come back.

And that’s it! I’m off to supper at Prairie Harvest. Maple bacon doughnuts are no match for the rest of the agenda, even if there is a potentially Problematic Development in Stonebridge, among other things.

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Letters! Let’s read them first. Life is short.

The Marr Residence is submitting its annual report. Why this is in the Letters section is unclear. The Marr Residence is involved in many worthy initiatives and has some excellent programming throughout the year but all you really need to know is 1. the basement is super haunted, as in they won’t let women go down there (or anyone, really) and 2. they have an unfortunate reliance upon a certain template for all their public announcements. Perhaps I should offer my services for free. On the other hand, they do have impressive visual continuity.

Three people wish to speak about the diverter. That is, if they can make it to City Hall before the meeting’s over. I’m not afraid to make fun of the Avenue C folks. I can see them coming. Then they have to turn and go up a block.

PotashCorp Fireworks Festival is asking for permission to hold itself during the summer.

We have another request from the Saskatchewan Marathon for permission etc.  “This year’s event is the 34th annual and will begin at 7:00AM on Sunday May 26th– starting and finishing in Diefenbaker Park.” I’m not sure why they need permission for such a short race, but whatever. (Yes I know what a marathon is. It’s like a century but involving more pain and less bikes.)

Brian Smiley from Red Bull (the drink) would like to have a free outdoor concert on Broadway in the summer featuring…the Sheepdogs. Because if there’s one thing in Saskatoon that we for sure have not heard enough of and about, it’s those guys.

The Kidney Foundation would like permission to host its run/walk thing on a Sunday in Kiwanis Park. This letter contains the phrase “the greater Saskatchewan kidney community” which I intend to use early and often. Since the greater Saskatchewan kidney community which is participating in this event are mostly people on dialysis, they are all tougher than me.

Something about Centennial auditorium’s AGM. In April.

Oh dear. C. S. Ekdahl – I am not sure I want to use his entire name as if he googles himself I don’t want to be put on his mailing list – C. S. Ekdahl has submitted a magnificent treatise. It is almost two single-spaced pages long and begins like this.

“Over four years ago, I began an epic campaign to change the world and to transform the way people viewed their place in it. This is the fourth time I have written to this Council; and I hope that you will continue to be a part of the change I speak of. I write again of the Honey Bee.”

If there ever was a letter crying out for a dramatic, Shakespearean reading, this is. it. I cannot even get my writing near the levels of prose here. At least not at this hour of the evening.

The City is paying $600 to be part of the NORTH CENTRAL
TRANSPORTATION PLANNING COMMITTEE, whatever that is. It’s based in Shellbrook and clearly violates the three-fonts-only rule on all of its submitted information. Their AGM is on April 11th at the Senior’s Hall (there’s only one) in Blaine Lake. “Supper will be served at 5:30 p.m.”. They really take the “senior” part seriously. I am sure all the city councillors are drawing straws to see who will stay back and hold the fort in Saskatoon that evening. (City Hall, like the U.S. government figures, can’t all be in the same place at once in case of a mass terrorist attack or sudden-onset diabetes.)

The next one is rather piquing. It’s a letter from Tourism Saskatoon – the Sports Tourism section – asking the city to ask the province to put in a provincial commission for “combative sports” since a bill is dangerously close to being passed (!!!) that will outlaw people fighting each other for fame and recognition and possibly money without the approval of a provincial body. Something to do with MMA. Since MMA/UFC whatever is something that I am supremely uninterested in you’ll have to ask Senator Bob Runciman just what shenanigans he is up to.

Look, I am at that stage in my life where my body is not healing as quickly as it used to and I’m getting aches and stuff when the weather changes or I’m tired. I used to wonder when I was younger why people got addicted to pain medication and now I realize how that happens all too easily. So, whenever I see people deliberately destroying themselves or other peoples’ bodies in the name of sport, I just get really sad. Sorry guys. I’m kind of a downer that way.

Community event in Holiday Park! June 22nd, 12-5 pm! On Avenue K South! If they get permission to close the street.

Earth Hour wants to have a street hockey tourney in front of the Main Library during Earth Hour. They also want to have acoustic music and hot chocolate, coffee and baking. I approve. Earth Hour is on March 23. Oh. Perhaps you should just have an actual hockey tourney instead on the street. I’m sure a main will break conveniently.

Ms Prostebby has written again to council. Her missive is impressive in its brevity, grammar, and level of tact. I shall reproduce it in full. “Please remove the diverter at 38th and ave C. It is a eye sore, dangerous. Takes more time to get to my bank on Ave C. I doubt the majority of residents in Mayfair want it there.”

Now that we know where Ms Prostebby keeps her money, let’s move on. Oakwood Nissan is being naughty and not putting enough setback on its addition.

Joan Wyant has sent a very lovely letter in that I shall also reproduce in full precisely because it is unusual and refreshing to have this sort of correspondence.

I meant to send this off last Friday but didn’t. I would like to send a big bouquet of thanks and appreciation to whoever decided to plow Waterbury Road between Thursday evening, February 22nd and Friday morning, February 23rd.    Not only did they do an exemplary job, but they also cleared the snow banks along the road as well as the sidewalks. It was such a wonderful sight when I left for work on Friday morning. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Too bad mother nature decided to nullify your good work!

I bet you a lot of money Joan Wyant is a librarian. Or the super nice teacher we all had at some point during junior high.

Carolyn Fraser writes in with the news that people are using their phones to take pictures in the change rooms at Lakewood civic centre. When I first saw the subject I thought “uh oh, someone saw me texting at Harry Bailey and now I’m a pedophile” but it appears I am in the clear. What would possess you to take pictures of anything in a change room? Do I need to start yelling at kids again?

An unfortunate visitor from Yorkton is trying to claim damages from the City for damage to their SUV from an urban pothole (It blew out their tire). I will tell you, after driving this car for 5 years I know exactly where the edge of the car is and exactly where the tires will go from all these years of pothole-dodging. You rubes from Yorkton don’t stand a chance.

Dean Cook doesn’t want to pay $5 to replace his broken transit fare card. Mysteriously, he doesn’t say how it was broken. The City has unfortunately worded their policy to account for lost cards but not broken ones. Personally I think the fee is bullshit, but I also understand not wanting to hand out cards like confetti. Also…how did he break his card?

A letter supporting library workers. In case you cared, I support them too. Union workers bolster the middle class, yo. If you’re going to argue with me here, just save your breath. I mean that in the nicest possible way. It’s not worth it.

There are grooves on Greaves Crescent and Mark Brolund is not amused. He ruptured his air-con line in his vehicle on them. Since the City doesn’t have enough money to clear residential roads properly, he is threatening to not pay his taxes since he doesn’t have the money to fix his car. One would thing that Mr Brolund could empathise with the City on the subject of budgeting and unexpected maintenance and/or weather events but it appears this is not the case. Also, with the way this winter is going, I suspect Mr Brolund will not need air-conditioning for a while.

Update: Greaves Crescent is in Willowgrove. I am increasingly suspicious that Willowgrove and other similar areas are getting preferential treatment when it comes to snow clearing and maintenance. Whenever I’m lost in Hellogrove (that’s “hell” as in fire, not “hello” as in ni hao) I notice that their ruts are suffering from razor burn. I’m now rather concerned for Mr Brolund’s finances, since he doesn’t have room in his budget for an emergency vehicle repair. Especially when you consider he’s bought a new, large house in a car-dependent suburb. He doesn’t even have a back lane where he could operate a snowmobile in case of extreme snowfall or vehicle malfunction. (Our neighbours in Sutherland are very prepared for this eventuality and take practice runs up and down the easement.)

The next letter is an exercise in how small Saskatchewan is, since I’m reasonably certain it’s written by someone from China who is now married to someone else I went to high-school with (and his parents know my parents and now live on the same street as my brother. I went to a very small, rural high school that is several hours from Saskatoon.)  The letter is in support of garage/attic/secondary suites. Another fun exercise in Saskatchewan smallness: Donna Birkmaier is my grandmother’s cousin. (I have never met her and I’m reasonably certain she is totally unaware of my existence.) I am sure I can connect any person in Saskatoon with any other person in Saskatoon with only one or two degrees of separation. I bet you could do all of Saskatchewan with like, four.

The next next letter can be summed up thusly: Bedford Road is a rutty hell and you should most definitely avoid it.

A resident of the 1700 block of 1st Avenue North is rather fed up with  a City-mandated involuntary commitment to reducing her water use and increasing her levels of physical activity. The city keeps shutting off her water with little notice and schlepping buckets from the trailer is undignified. I think the City only has two water trailers? Which is abysmal. If true. I could be totally making this up. Also, come on you guys. I think you can give her a little bit more notice than that. As soon as the main breaks, you tell people. Surely there’s some student you can send around with a flyer or something. The email also includes correspondence with a Public Works employee who indicates there is, in at least two of the cases, an hour between when the main broke and when they shut off the water. Are you still able to get water out of your tap after the main breaks? You can do a lot in an hour.

Arvid Luhning, who also sounds familiar, has had enough of being treated like a second-class citizen since he chose to live in a condo. Yes, this is about the multi-unit recycling. The faint rumbling you hear is the massive amount of shit (A) about to hit fan (B). Also I did not realize how much condo properties have to pay for services vs the equivalent area covered in single-family homes. Single-family homes are getting a sweet ride. But you knew that already.

The next letter is from Lloyd Ehrmantraut.

It’s an anti-food truck letter. A cursory Google reveals Ehrmantraut owns and/or operates the Grandma Lee’s, presumably downtown. I am not surprised that he is concerned about any competition raising its head due to the reviews, or lack thereof, of Grandma Lee’s on Urbanspoon. He proposes, instead, that the city create an “upscale outdoor dining experience”. (Burrrn, Taste of Saskatchewan). He is “not complaining” about other events that he “gives up sales for” like Taste of Saskatchewan, “charity BBQs” and pancake breakfasts. I can tell you this: if a food truck opens up that serves the same coffee and food that Grandma Lee’s does, you can rest assured that I will not frequent it.

And that’s it! The greater Saskatchewan kidney community, and I, wish you good day. It is 12:45 am. I fear that the coffee I had earlier was not as decaffeinated as I had hoped.

Shane Olson from Shercom and Frank Regier, serial letter-writer, would like to speak.

Some requests from the Broadway BID for the Art Fest, to be held on June 22nd of this year. An auspicious date. (I like numbers composed of the same, er, number.)

We only have a handful of letters from people about snow removal. I speak from experience, you can only stay angry for so long. Then you need to conserve energy in order to leave your house.

Some proclamations. And we’re on to the juicy marrow of the agenda, a poor analogy since the letters are actually at the end. The juicy carrot at the end of the weedy stalk, as it were.

Shane Olson, from Shercom, would like the City to know they recycle tires and have lots of things the City might be interested in using. Go Shane. You will be in business for centuries.

Frank Regier would like to speak at city council about “promoting city council members to donate blood”. See, this is the part where I like that we live in Canada, because if this were the States, Mr Regier would be strip-searched to an inch of his life to make sure he wasn’t planning on generating some involuntary blood donations.

Graham MacDonald implores the City to reverse their position on chickens. He is not coming to council to speak, so the executive committee won’t have a chance to mock his appearance or issue like they did with the last pro-chicken woman. (At least I remember some disrespectful attitudes towards her. Those of you with longer memories or access to journalistic archives prove me wrong.) I don’t care much for chickens, but then my neighbour welds on his back deck, so. Chickens would be an improvement.

513 Empress St, if you’re in the vicinity, is being illegally occupied. Specifically, there is an illegal suite in the basement. Since it is (according to Google Maps) already a duplex, I can see why City Hall is a bit tetchy.

Next one is from Alan Manson. He has a rather unique email address, and I think he’s written before. Yes, he has, July 18th last year. It was the rambling one, if you remember, about the centre of the city moving? Let me see if I can find it here. It is pretty great, so I’ll reproduce it in full. The brackets are all his doing, not mine.

Thank you for your service on behalf of the Citizens of Saskatoon [hereafter CofS], and maybe Greystone…my letter speaks as an observer of recent 2012 Star Phoenix front· page stories; not as a deliberate searcher for information. So excuse any sense of irritation and alarm.

Did I miss the Public City·Meeting[s], and/or of Wards to provide feedback and even alarm/dissent on the Plan/Decision [?] to recreate Saskatoon as a single hub [present Downtowh on the West bank of the River] for 500,000 people, rather than a group of Hubs/Villages? Is this now ‘accepted’ by the ‘public/ residents/citizens of Saskatoon [CofS]? Is it ‘irrevocable’?

Such News was released by the Star Phoenix [SP] months ago [Early Jan]…I was not able to respond to that idea/Vision/Plan. Very new parts of Saskatoon, such as ‘Willow Grove’, and the area bordering on the Willows Golf Club’, are still developing…their places in the SP News Release of Jan 2012 and now the Second News Release of the ‘infill’ scenario for “8th and 22nd Streets” [SP Monday June 18th] are very difficult to imagine or predict.

Eg 1 in ‘Victoria’ BC, houses 5 minutes NE from Downtown are in the Saanich District [separate Council/Taxes/responsibility] not Central Victoria. Such are in ‘larger Victoria’.
Such Districts for Saskatoon would protect home·owners in Willow Grove, or Greystone or Broadway, or the southern ‘Willows’ from loss of investment, security, peace and community from a centralized ‘Bureaucracy’. Without such local voices [the present Ward·system is quite ineffectual, and increasingly so], small groups of home-owners can be literally swept aside by the zeal of those with Grand Visions.

How is Urban Spra1vl to be minimized when we already have it…with Willow Grove and the southern ‘Willows’? Hence Eg 2: why is Willow-Grove not to be a ‘District’ with [its own] council and business/entertainment hub? The ‘Mall’ there is now very large, comprehensive and growing as we speak. Why not some movement of Downtown Headquarters of major companies to Willow Grove? Indeed, many of us seldom go ‘downtown’.in non-summer months it is dirty with gravel and mud; the snow and ice are not cleared; policed by ‘parking zealots’, and without ease of Parking. I do not understand how the Mayor can drive into his Office each day from Nov-April and not be dismayed!

The changes now planned [SP June 18] turns [parts of?] 8th St into rows of condominiums/condensed living apartments, with buses flying up and qown to deliver ‘worker- bees’ to the present downtown. With the present 8th St [Cumberland to a few blocks east of the Circle Crossover] now very rich with Malls and Centres [this only within the last decade]…we have no idea how these two apparent opposites are to be reconciled.

Instead, the SP News of June 18 on “8th St and 22nd” was confusing at best [likely not the SP’s fault]: the word ‘public’ had two meanings at least. First it was the City’s actions [they apparently working on behalf of us, the CofS], then it was us, the CofS. The University Prof interviewed likes all this: although the city-examples of tree-lined road-side stores on 8th St, for strolling along [as along Broadway] are all from cities at lower latitudes and much warmer climates than here. Where spring begins in January and February!

What of the fairly recent plans that changed 8th St to what we have now? Eg, as Wallace remarks    “… affecting    private    property    and. real    change … hundreds    of    km    of    [changed]    roads.” The latter will involve “roads…connecting via College Drive to UofS and across the “Uni- Bridge… “

This is of concern to Greystone residents, as any new roads will lower many house-values, our community, and relative peace. In the greater scheme of things we don’t matter…but each home destroyed by the City Plans [so far that is all they are] will be psychologically tough and highly unpleasant. When will I know if I should/must sell our home, and maybe move to where, maybe Warman, to save our investment and quality of life?

The latest News Release [and it is really not even that] mentioned “public consultations held to get feedback”, which could be anything from little ‘flyers’ placed in our mail boxes giving us a month or so to leave the house, at conveniently low $-restitution from the City…to Public Meetings. Somehow I do not see there being too many of these latter…based upon the process now started, why should I have trust in the Council? And the City/Council will “keep residents apprised of the plans”. As above, a flyer could be all we see, just as today such told me the lane next to us was to be improved/serviced.

Is there to be any opportunity for an alternate vision to be provided to us, the CofS? How could we provide strong disagreement? What have cities at high semi-Arctic winter locations dealt with this matter of living, with trade from a market place, with commerce, entertainment and the arts, a place for our spirits to flourish, for the young and the old, as well as those in between.all with local governance which approaches democracy in nature, Matters of choice, or dogmatism with the Mayor/Council dictating the future? When do the CofS have a chance to see several different visions of Saskatoon, provided by legitimate architects of the near future, rather than Council deciding on the ‘Hub-Issue’: a Central Metropolis or a cluster of Significant Villages in Greater Saskatoon?

The existing notion of ‘Issue Think Do’ has advantages but enormous problems…when the ‘thinking’ processes are undefined, or not possible to effectively challenge. And if the “doing” is started before the CofS REALLY ‘get it’. Why not a City Plebiscite?

Good Luck to Us All
Alan Manson Greystone
Professor Alan Manson, Ph.D., Emeritus Executive Secretary, “Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies” (ISAS) Distinguished Research Professor (ISAS) Department of Physics &Engineering Physics University of Saskatchewan

His earlier “letter” had a Lot of “stylistic” Flourishes, which is why I “remember” him. This one, I’m afraid, isn’t much better, delving into the abstract world of grit, sand, dust, and silt. I had forgotten he was a prof, although I’m not surprised. He does get in a nice dig, ending with “If only we could all live near the Willows Golf Course.”

We have an announcement from the Minister of Government Relations about the Asbestos Information webpage. Jim Reiter, by the way, has a truly awful signature although it’s par for the course when it comes to politicians. Not only is it bloated, obfuscating, and illegible, he also has scrawled a line through his entire name, not a good sign.

Robert Bone would like to offer support to Alan Wallace concerning the latter’s plans for 8th St. He inquires if the mayor and council also feel the same way.

Byron Studer would like some clarification on exactly how high the taxes will be. He also points out that one of the metrics used was the listed price of houses in the area, not the sale price, which can differ despite what realtors are telling you.

Karalasingham Sadadcharam would like to know when the bus shelter on 25th and 5th will be repaired. Since the letter is addressed “Dear Sirs” this appears to be a Man’s Problem.

Bonnie Desjardins has a caps-lock problem and a neighbour problem – it “seems” that her neighbour doesn’t possess a garbage cart and is mistakenly depositing their refuse in the Desjardin bin. (I believe you can get fined for that.) I’m not inclined to give her neighbours the benefit of the doubt here. Keep your neighbours close, but keep your garbage cart closer.  Another puzzling thing is that her house does not exist – Avenue P jumps from 349 to 355, at least according to Google Maps. (I especially like the forlorn Tim’s cups expiring gracefully on the roadway.) Sure, she could have entered her address wrong, but I prefer to believe we now have ghosts writing in. Plaintive, unassertive ghosts who can’t toss out their garbage.

Shaun Unger from Hague is wondering if anyone else has noticed that the Idylwyld and Circle intersection is…problematic. Especially since there are a couple of prominent bridges in the works.

Tyson Haines of 32nd St W is “extremely upset”. His truck has been repeatedly ticketed and then towed and impounded. Mr Haines is understandably distressed since he’s paying $600 a month for his truck. (Also he can’t pay his internet bill as a result of the impound fees, so don’t bother emailing him.) He bought a new truck after getting a parking permit and switched the permit to his new truck. I think I am sensing what the problem is here, as he asserts “the pass was damaged but still in the window”. Perhaps Mr Haines might want to inform the city that the aforementioned truck is indeed registered in his name.

Another fluoride letter, this time from a university student.

p. 237 is a handwritten letter from Mr Philip Dyck, of Langham. I’ll do you a public service and type it out, since it’s rather intriguing and he’s put a lot of work in so it’d be a shame to skip over it.

To: Saskatoon City Council, Mayor and Councillors.
Re. Surplus water over 11th St W. and more coming from 33rd St. W. and RM of Corman Park. Water must move under or over CN Yard.
[This is also cc’d to Gord Wyant, Corman Park council and the “Minister of Water Security” which doesn’t exist but should.]

RE: Water drain requirement west side of Saskatoon.

Jurisdictions (1) City of Saskatoon
(2) RM of Corman Park
(3) CN Railway Inc – nt subject to Prov. Waterway
(4) Ministry of Water Security

The Catchment Basin requires managed drainage of ongoing surplus water. There is now a water body 6 mi. in length north of Highway 14. Commuter gravel roads will be under water with 2013 spring melt. Water could start flowing under No. 14 and possibly swamp No. 7. The CN Freight Yard is a massive dam on a natural waterway.

2 possibilities.
I. a culvert 200′ in length needs to be [‘punched’ or possibly ‘pushed’] under the freight yard to connect to CN’s internal 36″ drainage system. The punched culvert should be 24″ diameter with a central gate, 38 cu. m/min or 10,000 gal/min
II. Pump water over the surface under the rail lines. Capacity needed [5000 or 8000, not sure] gal/min. to move 25 acre ft./day.

The cost of inaction
A. Commuter and commercial travel into a RM pop of 2000 will be severely obstructed. Alternate roads will be smashed up. Child education in rural areas will be difficult.
B. Post disaster costs POAP etc. will be substantial. Preemptive Action is Imperative.

History of the World [I like this guy.]
A city was founded. Marshland was drained. Crops were planted. Roads were built and trade flourished.
S a s k a t o o n – the only potential metropolitan area in Sask. for the foreseeable future. [Take that, Pile o’Bones.]
Drain the marshland? It was a forbidden concept.
July 2007. Corman Park Council meeting. Idea raised and shot down. I vigorously promoted drainage at the 2007 October annual meeting.
2011. RM Community Professional Planner opposed to drainage is terminated [!] and some tentative progress in drainage of surplus water from the floodplain north of Saskatoon is made.
2012. CN chopped [?] freight yard. A million cubic yards of 2″ crush dumped in a natural waterway forms the perfect dam to flood 11th  St W in Saskatoon. No. 7 highway is about 2 feet above water. There is no provision to move water through the freight yard. CN is federally incorporated and denies prov. waterway legislation jurisdiction.
2012. An 800 acre lake forms west of Saskatoon. Precipitation in 2013 could result in highway 7, 33rd St W and Auction Mart Road going under water leaving only highway 14. What about Rice Lake over 14? The 800 acre lake may expand and start flowing under No. 14 and flood No. 7.
Coordination is needed. RM of Corman Park, City of Saskatoon, CN railway & Prov. of Sask -through Sask. Water Management – needs to lead. MP Kelly Block might assist re. CN Federal Incorporation.

Then we have a map outlining the affected areas. I’d be interested to hear a City engineer’s position (or any engineer in the field, really) on this issue and whether it is indeed an issue.

Alvin Horyn would like to know if Gropper Crescent could get a quick scrape for the Parkridge people. “Remember they all ride in wheel chairs strapped in place.” (I rode one of these short buses the other day and the ride is appalling. I’m not sure how something with that wheelbase length feels like a tin toboggan jouncing over frozen cow shit.)

Yolanda Van Petten, another prolific writer, is “aghast” at the quality of service provided by city transit. “Saskatoon’s transit system currently is no more than an expensive token gesture. If the council is serious about getting us to use it instead of our cars they had better start financing it and hire someone with a clue to redesign it properly. It took me all day to buy knitting needles!” This is me in 40 years, in case you were wondering. Shaking my walker at the sky outside the Field House. (No disrespect to Yolanda. I enjoy her letters.)

Two letters requesting February be declared “Heart Month”, with a third calling for the 18th to be “Family in motion Day”.

We finish off this agenda with the reproduction again of Shane Olson and Frank Regier’s letters. So nice, you have to read them twice. Don’t forget to give blood, councillors! We have your sweat and tears. Now we’re out for the valuable stuff.

I know, I titled the first one as “First Half” which means this is the third half, but part of my gimmick is being delightfully irreverent so I’ve decided to split it three ways.

Here’s a breakdown of the exciting letters (letters conveying organizations’ information and/or announcing National Day of X are excluded.)

Commenting on spending priorities: 2
Commenting on property tax increase: 1
Commenting on civic issues: 7
Commenting on needle exchange zoning: 1
Commenting on sidewalk snow clearing: 6
Commenting on snow removal: 35 (this is not a typo)
Commenting on library contract: 1
Suggesting a memorial for the lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut: 1

A letter from Joanne Sproule, City Clerk,”[a]dvising City Council that over 100 emails, addressed to City Council, regarding transit message boards have been received in the Office of the City Clerk.” They are being put in “the file” which means I may have to read a bunch of hateful intolerant missives at some point this year if the matter comes before council. Where is that Naproxen bottle?

More specific letters, addressed to certain intersections, equipment operators, red light cameras, affordable housing, safety of pedestrians, safety of children etc etc. I don’t remember reading all these. Did the City add more to the agenda after I first downloaded it?

Commenting on transit service: 4

Letter from Ashu Solo: 1

p.  189 is the start of the letters. To paraphrase Ned Stark: Brace yourselves. The snow removal complaints are coming.

Since there is just a massive amount of missives, I’ll cherry-pick the best bits otherwise I would require pharmaceutical or psychotherapeutic intervention.

Whoops, the first guy has escaped my gimlet gaze with an anti-fluoride letter. He is also wanting to speak to Council, I think. The gist is either the fluoride goes or he does. He also states that it is his choice to eat silly putty as a free citizen of Canada. Not perhaps the words I would use but it is certainly effective at getting his point across.

p. 191 is a letter from upstanding citizen, J.L. Grover. He’s managed to decrease the size of his letterforms from last time, either that or the Clerk’s office has discovered the scaling option on the photocopier. I hesitate to say it, but I do agree with Jack Grover on one thing: that the speakers be allowed to speak first, instead of being shoehorned in at the end. I mean, we can at least pretend that we care about what people have to say one night a month.

Melita Penner is unimpressed with the efficiency of city workers. One highlight of her letter is that she alleges workers showed up to fix cracks in the sidewalk in front of her condo and ended up just filling in the aesthetic lines stamped in the concrete. (Either she’s exaggerating or the city workers are following the Miss Trunchbull method of action, that is be so outrageous that nobody will believe the stories told about you, even if they’re true.) Unfortunately tempting as it may be to yell at the City it’s not an effective way to motivate people, as I can attest. It is a great way, however, of fostering resentment upon both sides of the matter.

p. 194. Tourism Saskatoon’s budget is 2.9 million dollars.

p. 195. Ever notice that when someone says “Wake up and listen to the voters” what they really mean is “Wake up and listen to me”?

Caren Dupuis is disgusted with the amount of money going towards communications for city councillors ($220,000). I am actually okay with this.  All 11 of them share one part-time administrative assistant, if I remember correctly, and that’s bush-league. She thinks it could be better spent elsewhere, to which I point 220k doesn’t go very far in roadwork. It is, however, much more than the City has spent on bike infrastructure in any year before last, so I do grant her that.

Rick Brown sees through your cleverness at posting the tax rate with a “99” ending. Just like those sneaky gas stations. I agree. You can’t fool us. We can round up. At least I hope we can, the penny is going out of circulation.

Oh Thor, it is 10.45 and I still have 100 pages to go. If you’re wondering, it takes me about 2 hours to read the agenda initially and to make mental notes about points of interest. Then I have it turning over in the back of my head for a couple of days while I go about my menial tasks. For the actual writing bit, it’s another 6-10 hours, split up into approximately 2 hour chunks. I do actually enjoy it, and I feel peppy after finishing each bit, sort of bouncy and punchy. Float like a fruit fly, sting like a mosquito. Then I slag all of you off on Twitter and go to bed.

p. 200. Scandal! The Polish flag was not raised on the actual National Polish Flag Day (May 2nd). It was raised on the 28th of Wednesday [next day edit: obviously I am tired here, it is supposed to be November]. Also, the letter writer refers to his or herself in the third person. Stop doing this, people, it makes me itchy.

OK, a lot of people are hung up on this communications allotment. Communications seems to mean a great deal of things, all of them different (and wildly inaccurate).

I am sorry to say this, but many people have died this winter with the roads being a contributing factor. That point has already been passed. Using it as a threat will not be effective, page 203.

Attacks on the website budget so far: 2

A positive letter encouraging support for the needle exchange, from the Saskatchewan Public Health Association.

Aaron McKean is happy to see that people are getting serious about keeping their sidewalks clean. He walks to get around his neighbourhood (Broadway area) and is pleased with the City’s and homeowner’s efforts. Good job guys. No seriously, good job.

Some two-bit outfit wants to totally lock down downtown in August to park their cars on the street so others can goggle at them. Won’t somebody think of the businesses who are going to lose money because of the lack of parking downtown all day? (I don’t really care about cruise weekend one way or the other but I thought I’d levy some of the rhetoric used against non-car street use, just for fairness’ sake.)

Lovely, some more threats about children “loosing their life” because of the unsafe streets.

2 people so far have volunteered to pay more taxes to get better services, if you’re keeping track.

Guys I am just skimming through them at this point, the sentiments are all the same and the vitriol, while not directed at myself, is taking its toll on my fingernails.

We are up to at least 5 attacks on the website now. It’s become the new art gallery and/or whitewater rafting park.

Another person willing to pay more for full snow removal.

And another. He points out that if we can’t afford to run the city now, what’s going to happen when other suburbs come on line?

OK, five people who want to pay more taxes for better snow-clearing.

Six.
Seven.
Eight.
Nine.
Ten.
Eleven.

Some development appeals.

Ugh, they want to put in a digital billboard outside SaskPlace.

Some suggestions for modifying crosswalks on 20th and College Drive. I sort of agree with the Bottomley suggestion, there is unnecessary people-bus conflict there.

p. 267 has a distressing account of a car vs plow encounter. Apparently she was trying to get to City Hospital and encountered three plows running tandem down Queen. They didn’t stop. She was able to back up and out of the way, but the plows nearly hit her and she is very shaken. Knowing this stretch of Queen St – wait, she lives on Queen St and is driving to City Hospital, excuse me while I judge her for a bit, unless she is unable to walk – it would be very difficult to get out of the way of a determined grader operator, and I find it distressing that the operators didn’t stop or acknowledge her in any way. I suppose if something doesn’t make sense we don’t know the entire story, but I hope the City is looking into this.

Lauren Anderson, of Kingsmere Place, would like the city plows to clear snow from her crescent at a more suitable time than three am in the morning. She wonders if they could be done “at a different time” or “with less noise”. We now pause while everyone who doesn’t get snow removed on their street looks up her phone number and leaves her a polite message.

p. 273. Comic Sans alert. These guys have been parking on an angle (looking at Google Street view, it’s a 90 degree angle) for 12 years without issue.  Here’s the location.

The problem is, as she outlines in their letter, they are parking half on the street and half on the property. If they were parking entirely on their property, it would be ok. Having your rear axle on the street and not parallel [edit, that should be “perpendicular”] to the curb is a ticketable offense. Doesn’t matter if less of your vehicle is on the street. It’s still on the street. She says they will have to start parking around the corner on the next block which, horrors. Sorry, the use of Comic Sans has destroyed any sympathy I may have for your plight.

More letters. The buses are late. It’s a disgrace. We have people doing 90 minute, 2 hour commutes. In no case should the bus be slower than walking over a distance of several kilometres. It’s also unacceptable to have people waiting outside for over half an hour longer than anticipated. I am a huge proponent of dressing for the weather but in some temperatures it doesn’t matter what you have, standing still in one spot is a recipe for amputation. The buses don’t even have to have a faster route. We just need more frequency, so people aren’t waiting as long and can make their connections. I know, this costs more money. Everything costs more money. However, transit saves you money, in the big picture. My brain, it is breaking down.

An Arlington Ave resident is wondering why the grader is not clearing spaces for their personal vehicles, as is customary. This guy and the Kingsmere denizen should get together.

OK, he has written two letters. To be fair, he is a senior, and can’t handle the snow-clearing himself. He also wants a personal visit from the manager of the “plough crew”.

Anita Hrytsak is wondering if the city can come back and finish plowing the remaining quarter of her driveway. If she sounds familiar, she writes in quite often.

Suggestion of a fuel tax to help pay for snow clearing.

A good letter from Ted Slawinski, tradesperson, on the lack of portable washroom facilities for tradespeople. Something I had not really thought about. In the new developments, especially with smaller outfits, portapotties are not provided for workers. It’s a real problem, especially for women as it’s a little harder for us to whizz discreetly in a corner. (I know, you can get funnels, but that’s beside the point.) It’s too late for me to be funny about this, but perhaps I’ll think of something later.

Marla Ramsay wants the city to be more serious about school zones; she’s seen a lot of scofflaws dropping off their precious cargo and endangering everyone else’s precious cargo by doing so.

p. 303 has an answer for those of you wondering why the snow zone areas are not enforced. They are, but there’s not enough tow truck drivers to clean them out.

p. 306 brings up the “20 mph revolution” in Europe. I agree, especially when you see the drastic reduction in mortality rates by lowering the speed limits in residential and downtown areas. You’ve got to really gun it to get it up to 50 anyways downtown. Yeah, go ahead and attack me for wanting to confiscate all your cars and force you to walk everywhere. I’m used to it by now.

Whoo, someone was waiting over an hour for a taxi at the airport, and in frustration, took the bus instead. However she discovered what is 15 minutes by taxi is 50 minutes via bus. Surprise!

p. 312 is a long letter from the famed Ashu Solo. I am too tired to go into this here.

Some announcements about Crime Stoppers Day, etc. etc. And that’s it! Huzzah, I can go to bed.

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.

Well, this exercise in procrastination (caring about city council) has now resulted in me procrastinating from my procrastination and actually getting the things done I was avoiding in the first place. Alas, the casualty is you, dear reader (there’s only one of you, I think). I’m sure you’ve resorted to the methadone of reading the letters yourself, but as you pull at your rapidly-thinning (or non-existent) hair, nothing funny comes to mind. Fear not! For I have read them. I’m not funny though. For that you’ll have to go elsewhere. (I’m not sure where). Much like the abject authors of these missives, I fire this off tentatively into cyberspace, hoping someone reads them. Failing that, I just hope that when I read this again in six months I’ll still think it’s funny.

So.

Speakers for tomorrow evening: Alan Thomarat, of the Saskatoon Home Builders Association. I have absolutely NO IDEA of what Mr Thomarat will raise. (Aside from “the bar” of course. Zing! Oh, zing.) Also, Adam Pollock, he of the VISUALS from last time. He’s had two weeks to generate more 3-D renderings of his possible bridge solutions. Adam Pollock: the one-man solution to Fixing The Cattle Bridge. Yes, we are calling it that now. Well, I am.

Highlights of the letter summaries:
“Commenting on deer in developing neighbourhoods”
“Commenting on snow accumulation and civic matters”
And, of course, a fair bit about councillor’s salaries.

First off, is one from Councillor Fred Baran, of the RM of Dundurn. He’s outlining the current state of affairs that Blackstrap Park finds itself in. Namely, they are being given the run-around by the province. Do not hold your breath waiting for it to re-open. Mr Baran recognizes the irony in this situation, which bodes well for his mental health.

Drew Preston would like the council to consider other alternatives than tax hikes for funding road repairs. Tossed under the bus in this letter: people who live outside Saskatoon, and people who rent. Mr Preston’s solution is a gas and/or city sales tax.  People benefiting from this solution: businesses located outside Saskatoon, and people who don’t drive. Also, people who rent, since according to Mr Preston, we don’t pay taxes. If the property taxes don’t go up, we’re not affected. (This makes sense; just give your brain a bit to process.)

Dan Norton, an ex-landscaper, has some thoughts on the construction (or lack thereof) of the Circle Drive south bridge. He is also a fan of parking and drinking coffee from Tim Horton’s while observing said construction (or lack thereof).

Next is an invoice from FCM. If you care, the city’s membership in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities costs $41,225. This is 4.123% of the proposed cost of the new website. (The new website, for my calculating purposes, will cost one meeeellion dollars. Whatever, I can’t be arsed to scroll back through the agenda here.)

Frank Regier has problems with buses, dump trucks, garbage trucks, emergency vehicles, semis, and cars racing in his area. This sounds suspiciously familiar to the mechanics of a particular racing game (available on the Playstation 2). Naturally, Mr Regier is not best pleased with living in the real-life version of Need For Speed and pleads with the administration to reconsider tax hikes, mandatory recycling, and car allowances (!) as well as urging Council to consider the plight of the economy (it’s fragile) and the homeless (without homes).

Raissa Graumans wants food trucks and pours salt on this wound by pointing out Regina has food trucks and we do not. How much longer will we suffer this indignity? (A while).

Connie Berko is not overjoyed about Pat Lorje’s news release. Specifically, she objects to the part where Lorje refers to $52,000 salary per year as a poverty wage. (Disclaimer, I haven’t read Lorje’s release.) She ends the letter with “DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT YOUR PAY IS A POVERTY LEVEL INCOME!” which I think technically requires a question mark but I’m not about to wade into that here.  Unfortunately this is a point where I (caution, thinking ahead) think they’re both right, and both wrong. 52K is fairly respectable if, like me, you are a child-free working person in a dual-income household. 52K, incidentally, is also the baseline for housing assistance if you have dependents. So, yes and no. Anyways, the thing to remember here is that there is always someone who makes less than you and that there is always someone else willing to remind you of it.

Byron Shaw agrees with M(r)s Berko above and further states that “this whole city is becoming overun [sic] with greed”. He ends it with a parting fusillade at the mayor, suggesting that His Worship take a pay cut since all he does is “running around to various ceremonys [sic], and golfing.” To make his point clear he says, “It sounds to me like its [sic] the councillors that get the work done anyway.”

In case you weren’t getting tired of the salary review comments, here is a letter from Susan Mak. She takes a different tack, raising the spectre of Greece, Spain, the USA, and our current federal government.

Terry Yaskowich thinks tolls are a good idea. (If you’re wondering what I think, I was initially in favour of tolls, because I like sticking it to people, but after further reading and consideration, I am not. Tolls are a roundabout and inefficient way of making people pay for their infrastructure maintenance required to fix the deleterious effects of rubber on asphalt, whereas removing subsidies for oil and gas/raising taxes on fuel attacks the problem at its source. Sorry, John Gormley, our alliance was but brief and tenuous.) Anyways Mr Yaskowich suggests the Coquihalla as a model – they tolled the ever-loving Odin out of it and then removed the toll once everything was paid for.

Clayton Leach watches the news. He saw the bit on the possibility of tolls. As a commercial driver, he drives to make money, and there is “no way” he’d use the bridge that you have to pay for. He puts on up to 200 km in the city in a day, if you were wondering, and crosses the river several times. If you see a flaw in his reasoning, please send your answer and a self-addressed stamped envelope to 102-104th St., Saskatoon.

Blair Wooff would like the Caswell Hill area to be considered for a parking-permit program. People are parking there and walking to downtown, which absolutely shocks me as I didn’t realize there are people who walk this far in Saskatoon. Also, the new cop shop is going in, and that will put constraints on parking. He’s unhappy at being told first one thing and then another. If the City goes forward with his proposal, I suggest that it be called the “Blair Wooff Project” or I shall be sorely disappointed. (Normally I don’t make fun of people for their names but how do you resist that.) (Quite easily, my husband informs me.)

Notices of hearings for refusal to issue development permits type things. These are all standard issue, aside from one bold auto body shop owner whose proposal has a setback deficiency of, er, 94.45%. Encroach big or croach home, as the saying goes.

A solitary anti-fluoride letter.

Shannan McKay is disgusted with the pathetic level of service in the north end (Lawson, not industrial). Her beef is with the 70/80, unsurprisingly; I take this bus often but on the Sutherland leg. Let’s just say I am shocked when it shows up at the appointed time, and I’m getting on it just outside the PAC on campus. At any rate, Shannan used to encourage people to take transit but is now seriously reconsidering this plan of action.

Tammy Hrycan has lived in Montgomery for 24 years. She is concerned about a herd of deer that live on a piece of land that is now being developed. She would like more signs for the deer, or attempts made to relocate the deer. If you think I’m about to castigate M(r)s Hrycan for her soft-hearted concerns, you would be wrong. Despite being personally responsible for the deaths of 2 deer via 1998 Suburban, I agree with her that the deer were here first and deserve consideration. Unless they are eating my dad’s hay bales, in which case, bust out the .303 and the cats are eating meat tonight. (In case you were wondering, the cats did not eat venison very often despite my father’s threats. They mostly subsisted on porridge and expired Boost shakes.)

Juan Serrano would like the City to advise him of the proper steps to take in order to remove the mandatory recycling program. There is a large number of people he has spoken to that do not like this program.

No, I did not make that last letter up.

In a remarkable fit of coincidence, Jean Hein also has beef with the 70/80. She adheres to her schedule and wants to know why this route is particularly unable to do so.

Renita Lefebvre is concerned about nobody removing the snow at the bus stop at 1000 Central Ave. The gist of it is, she uses a walker and gets stuck frequently. There’s also a bit in there about train tracks, so I am not sure if she is referring also to my own personal Issue about the railway crossing at Central between 112th and Gray. (It is about 2 feet wide, icy, with traffic whipping past at 50+ km/hr. Seriously, if a truck came along at the right time with those extendable mirrors, I would not be typing this.)

Grace Kuhn (why does this name sound familiar) also has issues with bus stops and the removal of snow thereabouts. Also: taxes, councillors’ salaries, the skating rinks formerly known as roads, and children’s welfare on said roadways.

Trevor Daviduke would like the city to update its website more often. Well, Trevor, you are in luck. The bad news is, your taxes are most probably going to go up as a result.

Paul C. Hamilton (Hey, one of my old profs!) is also concerned about the timeliness of news (or lack thereof) on the city website. Since the city couldn’t be arsed to update the website stating there was a water main break in their area, he, and dozens of his neighbours, tied up the phone lines calling the City to find out. He points out, rightly, that if the City just bloody updated the bloody website with actual useful bloody information it would free up the phone lines for people who don’t use the internet and everyone wins. (Um, I may have added some strong language for emphasis here.)

Anda Ciurezu wants to know if it’s legal to keep foxes as pets. Domestic foxes, not wild ones. If she can’t get the native varieties of foxes as pets, she’s hedged her bets here by asking if non-native (i.e. fennecs) can be kept. Anda Ciurezu really likes foxes.

Danielle White is asking the City to consider a senior’s leisure pass. Sure, why the hell not. Wait, we don’t have a senior’s leisure pass? I suppose they do get a lot of exercise just trying to get on the bus, if previous letters are any indication, but that’s a bit extreme.

Casey Cherry has a comment about the shortage of indoor ice surfaces available for rent in the city. I’d make a joke about the roads here but I’ve had a long day. His son’s team practices at 7 am on Tuesdays. Ooof.

The next letter is flipped 90 degrees. At the risk of incurring a headache, I will read it. OK. It’s about the train in the Kinsmen Park. Something about moving it to Wakaw. John Diefenbaker is mentioned. Wakaw is the obvious choice since it’s in the middle of the area circumscribed by Saskatoon, Melfort, Prince Albert, and Humboldt. That was a lot harder to read than I’d anticipated.

Some letters from CUPE notifying that the Union wishes to continue negotiations for revisions to the Collective Bargaining Agreements. There’s also a letter from the ATU Local 615 about negotiations as their collective agreement expires in December of this year.

And that’s it, huzzah. Now I am going to bed. If you’re wondering, I will most likely be watching the council meeting at home, since my chairs are significantly more comfortable and I don’t have to look the Mayor in the eye.