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.