If the city goes through with this, it will be a tremendous mistake
The City of Saskatoon will likely curtail financial incentives for new affordable rental housing in core neighbourhoods in an effort to spread out social housing throughout the city.
A city committee voted in favour Tuesday of adopting rules that would make it more difficult for affordable housing units to be built in neighbourhoods such as Riversdale and Pleasant Hill, which are already home to much of the city’s affordable housing.
“We are never going to be able to rejuvenate these neighbourhoods unless we get at this at some point,” Coun. Pat Lorje told the city’s planning and operations committee.
The city provides up to 10 per cent of the upfront construction costs for people or organizations looking to build affordable units. If the new rules are endorsed by city council, new units would only receive that incentive if they are not built in core areas that already have a “concentration of affordable housing.”
Lorje has long been a proponent of moving social services and social housing away from the core neighbourhoods. She says neighbourhoods such as Pleasant Hill, Riversdale and Meadowgreen are bearing the burden of social agencies, affordable housing and, consequently, poverty.
But for many involved in affordable housing, the idea of “diluting” social housing is flawed.
“There has to be an understanding of people’s comfort level,” said Shirley Isbister, president of the Central Urban Metis Federation (CUMFI). “We know a lot of these people would not be going across town or downtown to get services. They won’t.”
CUMFI operates nine refurbished apartment buildings in the city’s core neighbourhood that act as shelters and affordable housing for at-risk women and children.
The committee was told operations such as CUMFI would likely be exempt from the new rules because they are able to demonstrate “positive impact on the neighbourhood.” But Isbister says the whole philosophy of moving social services and housing out of the core is based on a false premise that affordable housing is the problem, not the solution to neighbourhood problems such as crime and drug abuse.
Isbister was not at Tuesday’s meeting, but one city councillor echoed her sentiments. “I can’t understand the logic of this,” Coun. Charlie Clark said. “I can’t think of any of (affordable housing projects) that have contributed to the problems you are taking about.”
I am going to side with Shirley Isbister (and organizations like QUINT) on this one while disagreeing with Pat Lorje and the Planning and Operations Committee. This is a terrible idea and a tragic misunderstanding of the impact of affordable housing.
Sean, DeeAnn and I interview Councillor Charlie Clark for The OurYXE Podcast where talked for about an hour about a lot of things of importance that influence the city.
Charlie and I don’t always see to eye to eye but he is one of the most erudite councillors that this city has ever had. He’s also the most open and transparent which means he is a great person to interview.
Listening to the interview I am struck by how mayoral Charlie sounded. He has a lot of big ideas and is looking at big picture solutions that encompass the entire city, not just his own ward. Its an interview well worth listening to. If you want to keep following the people and topics we are posting to OurYXE, you can find us on iTunes.
The OurYXE podcast sat down and interviewed Councillor Zach Jeffries (you may know him from such roles as Campaigning for Ward 10). We had a good discussion about suburban sprawl, the North Commuter Bridge, and his lucky campaign shirt. It’s worth a listen.
Of course if you can’t get enough of Saskatoon politics and policy, you can subscribe to the OurYXE podcast via RSS, iTunes, or just stop by every Monday and see who else we have tormented (next week it is Councillor Charlie Clark).
From The StarPhoenix’s blog. A note from the giant icicle before it was torn down. Luckily Jeremy Warren was there to get the story.
You must know a few things before they hack me apart and I melt into your memories. First, stop calling me an icicle. I’m more of an ice wall, no? You’ve seen the photos by now. My elegant curves run from the top of the apartment to the ground. I hang for no one.
Second, WHY? Why must you destroy me? There are more perilous icicles hovering above Saskatoon sidewalks and apartments, and yet it’s my ice on the firing line. I blame the media spotlight. Its hot glare is not good for my kind.
One afternoon I’m at home — in my case it’s just a wall but it’s still home — and a reporter comes around, lets neighbours talk garbage about me and then publishes a story accusing me of threatening innocent citizens. Did I get an interview? I was not asked for my side of the story. I got the cold shoulder.
But that’s how we are treated, my frozen friends and I. How many of you have snapped an icicle hanging from your windows and trucks? Those are our children cut down in their prime. This is ice-ism.
I am not an old soul, but my young ice age has provided some insight into this world. Stuck to the same spot for months, I can’t help but notice the best and worst of you. I watched a young couple fight on the street, a blizzard of pent up resentment blowing between them. I watched two teens rush to the aid of an old man who slipped on the icy sidewalk. A microcosm of humanity has passed before me and I came to love you. Now you’re all left cold to my pleas of mercy.
I will likely die today. Think of me when you slip on your skates. Think of me when you drop a few ice cubes in your warm cola. I did nothing wrong and I am being punished. Justice is blind and maybe that’s why she moves at a such a glacial pace.
From Brent Toderian
When it came to my turn, my answer took a big picture and perhaps surprising approach, depending on your definition of urban design. In Vancouver, a city often referred to as “a city by design”, the most important urban design decision we ever made, the decision I loved most, is actually usually referred to as a transportation decision.
In 1997, the city approved its first influential Transportation Plan.
It was a game-changer for our city-making model in many ways, most notably in its decision to prioritize the ways we get around, rather than balance them. The active, healthy and green ways of getting around were ranked highest – first walking, our top priority, then biking, and then transit, in that order. The prioritization then went on to goods movement for the purposes of business support and economic development, and lastly, the private vehicle.
Vancouver still spends a considerable amount of energy trying to make driving a greener and healthier proposition, with examples from electric vehicle charging station pilot projects, to policies and zoning incentives that have contributed to our incredible growth of car-sharing. However the private vehicle remains the last priority. I always note that we are not anti-car, and we rarely ban the car, but prioritizing it last has a dramatic effect on the way we design our city.
If you’re a driver who is worried about a “war on the car”, remember this – our model of city building understands the “Law of Congestion” and proves that when you build a multimodal city, it makes getting around better and easier for every mode of transportation, including the car. It makes our city work better in every way.
This decision to prioritize rather than balance our ways of getting around has affected everything in how our city has been designed since then. It’s a huge part of the essential DNA that our city has grown from. It’s guided every decision, from thousands of physical design decisions, to our budget allocation. Has every decision followed it perfectly? No – there are many illustrations around the city where the prioritization hasn’t been perfectly reflected. However, enough decisions have reflected this prioritization to make our city design fundamentally different.
So my answer to Gordon’s question “what urban design decision do I love?” It’s our ahead-of-the-curve 1997 decision to prioritize active transport rather than trying to balance ways of getting around. A decision we reinforced and are taking further in the recent Transportation Plan Update I had the pleasure of working on.
For the record, Saskatoon has gone the opposite direction in emphasizing the car.
If you are going to be mocked, you might as well be mocked by the best. Hilary blogs OurYXE’s podcast.
Jordon starts talking about Nenshi and how he’s not afraid to take a stand and defend his causes. In case you didn’t figure it out, I think Jordon really, really likes Naheed Nenshi. If you offered Jordon the choice between being Nenshi for a day or going to any in-camera meeting of the executive committee he would have a difficult decision
The anger over snow removal has dissipated somewhat. Hilary may have the answer.
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.
If you aren’t reading Hilary’s blog on Saskatoon politics, you are doing the internet all wrong.
For those of you who are tired of reading what I have written; I have put together a new medium to grow tired of; a podcast. Sean Shaw, DeeAnn Mercier and myself (along with some soon to be announced contributors) are going to talking city politics, urban planning, and other issues that affect us as a city at ouryxe.ca. We have some great guests lined up and at times it can get rather testy but a great city needs a place to debate things and talk about new ideas. This just happens to be one of them. The RSS feed is live and we hope to hear back from iTunes in a couple of days and I can post that link. The first episode can be found online here. Expect to hear our episode with Councillor Zach Jeffries to go live as soon as our iTunes page goes live.
Last week DeeAnn talked me into heading up with her and Jules to Blue Mountain Outdoor Adventures near North Battleford to take some photos and video of the 2013 Western Canadian Championships for biathlon. On Sunday the three of us drove up and checked things out. All of us ended up taking photos of competitors and coaches from all over western Canada. When there wasn’t someone racing by, there was the cracks from the gunfire (reminded me of being at home).
There were races happening the entire time we were there so there was always something to take a picture of. The weather wasn’t that bad out. I was cold yet was only wearing a hoodie so it wasn’t too bad out. By the time I got home and edited the shots, I took a couple hundred photos which I uploaded to a Flickr photo set and Blue Mountain’s Flickr group page.
What surprised me was how big of sport biathlon is out in Western Canada and also how big of an event these championships are. There were a couple hundred competitors, coaches, and family members out at Blue Mountain with clubs as far away as Canmore, Hinton, Jasper, and from places in Manitoba. The other thing that surprised me was how young some of the racers were.
From what I saw, everyone was having a good time (except for this guy who broke a ski while starting his race) and the weekend went off without a hitch.
While the LeaderPost published a poll of voter intentions in the province for the provincial NDP leader, I was curious when I heard about some internal polling done by the candidates themselves. Over the last couple of weeks the Broten, Meili, and Wotherspoon campaigns have all done some polling. Interestingly enough, the buzz is that both the Wotherspoon campaign has commissioned two polls right after the other. If you don’t like the results of the first poll, maybe you just keep polling?
The Broten campaign has been the only one talking about the results which if accurate, makes sense. It is bad news for both Ryan Meili and Trent Wotherspoon. I know Nate Silver says to not believe campaign polling but it’s all we have. Until the Wotherspoon and Meili camps post their numbers, I only have the Broten numbers to go on and here they are.
When I looked at the poll, it was done by Public Polling Inc which is a polling company out of Toronto (there is a Saskatchewan Party attack ad in there someplace). It was a large poll with a margin of error is only +/- 2.2%. The poll asked two basic questions — (1) “If you were to vote for the new NDP leader today, who would be your first choice?” and (2) “Who would be your second choice for the new NDP Leader?” The results of the poll show the following breakdown of first ballot support among decided voters throughout the entire province:
If the poll is correct, it looks like a 3rd ballot victory for Cam Broten and he would become the next leader of the opposition. Trent Wotherspoon has either lost his support or pundits have really overestimated his support in the first place. Maybe that is why he is polling so much. According to the poll, Broten is the second choice of most of the people surveyed. With the NDP at about 11,000 members and with the vast majority of them casting a ballot; I can’t see the convention floor delegates having enough votes to change the outcome but I have been wrong many times before.
The end result is that a) it’s going to be a boring convention b) Cam Broten will become the next leader of the opposition c) the Saskatchewan Party is probably already cutting the attack ads on Broten as I post this.
It also means that 2015 is going to be an interesting election.
Update: I immediately was emailed as asked if who I was voting for. I am not a member of any political party and therefore won’t be casting a ballot in this race. I am just looking at it from the outside.
Sean Shaw has a great post on the proposed North Commuter Bridge and the process that surrounded it.
An internet search pinpoints an announcement on March 15th by the City Administration regarding the Integrated Growth Plan – the blue print that will guide Saskatoon’s growth for the next couple of decades – and the transportation plans included within that plan (Proposed Plan, March 2012 here). An article in the Star Phoenix the following day suggests that a North bridge has been on the planning books for Saskatoon since 1999. However, as recent as 2007, official City planning documents indicate only one proposed North Bridge, the provincially driven “North Perimeter” Bridge and Highway, which was originally proposed in 2000, with no mention of a second North Bridge (2007 University Heights Sector Plan – here – compare the map on page 2 to the Commuter Bridge Map). Moreover, the Sector Plan for University Heights has not been officially changed by City Council to include the proposed “North Commuter” Bridge or it’s connecting roadways, including the proposed arterial road that will now bi-sect the ecologically sensitive Northeast Swale (according to the Sector Plan no arterial roadways are supposed to cross the swale).
The lack of any historical documentation suggests that the “North Commuter” Bridge appeared out of thin-air early last year.
While researching this file last month, I made a request to City Administration to provide any public documents that outlined the feasibility of the proposed “North Commuter” Bridge – specifically traffic impact studies, like the one conducted for the Traffic Bridge, that demonstrated the requirement for the Bridge. I was told that no such study existed. Infact, the study (Transportation Functional Planning Study) that will determine the feasibility of different river crossings and how they will impact future traffic won’t be completed until later this month.
Furthermore, its commonly held in the local engineering community that the “North Perimeter” Bridge and Highway would be a better use of public dollars, in terms of addressing traffic movement for the City as a whole (funny enough, the same was said about the South Circle Bridge, namely that the North Perimeter Bridge should have been built first).
The entire post is worth reading until you realize that Saskatoon City Council has gone ahead and spent $100 million on a bridge that is going to be about 1/2 mile from another new bridge without understanding the impact of that bridge. If anything they are doing their best to make city council spending in Regina and Markham sound reasonable.
LUNAFEST is coming to Saskatoon
Join a Saskatoon celebration of International Women’s Day at a Women’s Film Festival!
The Betty-Ann Heggie Womentorship Foundation and the Edwards School of Business are pleased to present a screening of LUNAFEST, followed by a panel discussion at the Broadway Theatre the evening of Wednesday March 6th, 2013.
LUNAFEST connects women, their stories, and their causes through film. The program of nine short films will compel discussion, make you laugh, tug at your heartstrings, and motivate you to make a difference in your community.
Come out, pick up your free popcorn, drink, and a Lunabar and watch nine short films produced by and for women. Incredibly diverse in style and content, the films are united by a common thread of storytelling. A short description of each is as follows:
- Blank Canvas by Sarah Berkovich – Going through chemotherapy, a woman turns her baldness into a blank canvas for self-expression
- Flawed by Andrea Dorfman – An animated tale about accepting yourself, flaws and all.
- Lunch Date by Sasha Collington – Getting dumped hurts, especially for a woman whose boyfriends sends his fourteen-year-old brother to break the news.
- The Bathhouse by Jisoo Kim – Escaping the streets of the modern city, a group of women are transformed by a bathhouse paradise.
- When I Grow Up by Sharon Arteaga – A mother and daughter sell tacos and dream of a better life.
- Chalk by Martina Amati – A gymnast selected for an elite training camp makes new discoveries about bodies, boys and friendship.
- Georgena Terry by Amanda Zackem – How the founder of Terry Bicycles revolutionized cycling with bike frames designed for women’s bodies.
- Self-Portrait with Cows Going Home and Other Works by Rebecca Dreyfus – A rare and soulful portrait of the ironically camera-shy Sylvia Plachy, a renowned contemporary photographer.
- Whakatiki – A Spirit Rising by Louise Leitch – A day at the river awakens the spirit of a women held captive by years of broken promises.
Betty-Ann Heggie (moderator)
TBA (watch for announcements)
Admission is $10. All proceeds will be directed to tuition fees for Proteges from the non-profit sector to attend the Betty-Ann Heggie Womentorship Program at the Edwards School of Business, with a donation also being made to LUNAFEST (The Breast Cancer Fund). Seating is limited!
- Doors open at 6:00pm
- Seating at 6:50pm
- Screening starts at 7:00pm
- Panelist discussion at 8:30pm
Like a lot of you out there, I grew up watching Mike Duffy on television. I thought he was a fair interviewer that held both sides accountable. When he became a senator, he became increasingly partisan which I thought was an odd direction for him to go with but if that is what he thought, that is what he thought.
When the scandal hit over his residency, I was a little shocked by it because I see what he is doing and what Patrick Brazeau being two different things. Let’s look at what Duffy did.
He was named to the Senate from P.E.I. despite living in Ottawa for most of his life. He went out and bought and renovated a small P.E.I. cabin in Cavendish, P.E.I. to establish his residency in. Critics say that he spends most of his time in Ottawa and he shouldn’t get a housing allowance and yet he is expected to keep a second residence in PEI. This is different from other senators in which way? The truth is that he spends most of this time in Ottawa as a senator. They meet for about 88 working days a year. When you include in holidays and weekends is about 6 months of the year which means that he does need two residences. Duffy’s mistake is that he used his housing allowance to pay for his PEI home and not his Ottawa residence. So if he had sold his home and bought a condo in Ottawa, everything would have been okay? Let’s use some common sense on this.
As for why his neighbours haven’t seen a lot of him lately, the senate is in session and therefore he would be living in Ottawa. They had some neighbours complaining that they never see the Duffy’s. First of all there are people who own cabins at Arlington Beach that I have never seen and Cavendish is a lot bigger than Arlington. It also could be that the Duffy’s enjoy their privacy. Even more scandalous is that they even spend some of their social time in both Ottawa and Cavendish.
As for the health card, I love my cabin at Arlington Beach but if I was sick, I want to be at home. For me that is Saskatoon and for Duffy, that appears to be Ottawa. While it looked back when he wanted an expedited card, I don’t have a problem with him having an Ontario health card. If he is going to spending most of his time in Ottawa, it makes sense to me.
There are no Senate rules for residency in your home province and until there are, we should back off Senator’s like Mike Duffy. He’s a part of a weird undefined system. I don’t see fraud or even a scam. If anything it seems that Duffy never realized that once he turned partisan, the attacks would follow. As we have seen now, they have. The difference for Duffy is that he is on the receiving end of them.
25 years ago the Saskatoon Blades opened Saskatchewan Place with a game against the Brandon Wheatkings. That night I got a phone call with an offer to go to the game. Later that week I watched the Canadian Olympic Hockey Team practice in anticipation of some exhibition games they played at Saskatchewan Place. It was a big deal and an amazing stadium. Over the years I have seen a bunch of concerts, hockey games, World Junior Hockey Championships, and even some curling at now Credit Union Centre. The stadium is rather sterile but it’s ours and it’s fun to go tonight with some friends to watch the Blades play the Lethbridge Hurricanes (who when they were the Calgary Wranglers, where the first WHL team I ever saw play). It should be a fun game night. Monday I have a column out about Saskatchewan Place and stadium economics today. A lot has changed although I am glad the famous Blades Pac Man logo still makes an appearance from time to time.