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Saskatoon

Top 25 Photos of 2014: #17 – River Landing at Dusk

River Landing at Dusk

According to Flickr, this was my 17th most interesting photo of 2014.

Top 25 Photos of 2014: #18 – Don’s Photo & Ace Food Truck

Don's Photo

Flickr thought this was my 18th most interesting photo of 2014.  The Ace Burger Food Truck parked outside of Don’s Photo in Saskatoon.

Top 25 Photos of 2014: #19 – Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Top 25 Photos of 2014: #20 – Saskatoon Housing Coalition

Saskatoon Housing Coalition

My 20th Most Interesting Photo from 2014 according to Flickr is of the Saskatoon Housing Coalition offices.

Top 25 Photos of 2014: #21: Ace Burger Food Truck

Ace Burger Food Truck

My 21st most interesting photo of 2014 was snapped at the PotashCorp Fringe Theatre Festival.  It’s the famous Ace Burger Food Truck moments before I ate my first Ace Burger.

Whatever one might say about Saskatoon City Council, they really got food trucks right.  When you look at the massive mess quite a few other cities have made of their food truck by-laws and licensing, we really did it right here.

Top 25 Photos of 2014: #22: Affinity Campus

Affinity Campus

Affinity Campus was my 22nd most interesting photo of 2014 according to Flickr.  It was also the most popular photo on Bridge City throughout most of the year.

Introducing the 33rd Street Business Improvement District

Some really good news for Mayfair and Caswell.  From the City of Saskatoon news release.

Saskatoon City Council has recently made possible the final step in creating Saskatoon’s newest Business Improvement District (BID), which includes both sides of 33rd Street from Alberta Avenue to Avenue G.

“We are tremendously excited about establishing a BID for 33rd Street.  The business owners in this area have worked very hard to achieve this goal, and it has now become a reality.  We couldn’t be more pleased with Council’s decision,” says Nicola Tabb, representing the 33rd Street BID Organizing Committee.

At its November 24, 2014 meeting, City Council approved Bylaw No. 9235 – The 33rd Street Business Improvement District Bylaw, 2014.  A BID is an area of commercial and industrial property owners and tenants who work in partnership to create a thriving and competitive business area.

Over the past two years, a group of dedicated business owners on 33rd Street have worked toward organizing a BID, which is made up of a variety of unique businesses such as restaurants, shops, services, and a major grocery store.  The business group saw the potential in forming a BID to improve and enhance the appeal and viability of the district now and into the future.

“The creation of a BID benefits not only the 33rd Street commercial district, but the city overall,” says Alan Wallace, Director of the City of Saskatoon Planning and Development Division.  “The success of other BIDs in Saskatoon has directly resulted in thriving, attractive areas where residents and visitors alike can come to work, shop, and play.  The 33rd Street BID will certainly create the same positive impact for their commercial area.”

The 33rd Street BID will begin operations in 2015.

Great job by the businesses that reside on 33rd Street.  If they can accomplish a fraction of what has been done by the Riversdale BID; Mayfair, Caswell, and of course some businesses in the area are going to benefit greatly.

Top 50 Photos of 2014: #48 – Cabela’s

Cabela's

Of my 50 most interesting photos on Flickr, this was rated #48 and is a shot of Cabela’s in Saskatoon at night.  It was one of the first night shots I took with my Pentax MX-1.

Atchison could face toughest challenge in 2016

The StarPhoenix brought back the City Hall Notebook (it hadn’t really gone anywhere but for a while it was as silent as City Council during the transit strike) with a fantastic post by Phil Tank on Don Atchison’s re-election chances.

Atchison breezed through the 2006 and 2009 elections, easily beating challenger former councillor Lenore Swystun both times with 64 per cent and 58 per cent, respectively.

Then, Atchison faced his toughest challenge as incumbent in 2012 when political newcomer agricultural scientist Tom Wolf collected 48 per cent of the vote to Atchison’s 52. The mayor’s support has dropped six per cent each election.

Many politicians would read this result as a warning that it’s time to quit if a candidate can come out of nowhere and come close to victory. Not Atchison, who will become Saskatoon’s longest serving mayor at 13 years if he completes his current term.

All indications suggest Atch will be back to defend his crown in 2016. In a midterm interview, Atchison said he’s “leaning” toward running for a fifth term in two years. It would be a surprise if he bowed out.

His potential challengers must feel encouraged by the 2012 result, but must also be aware that a vote split three or more ways can result in anyone winning.

Did Wolf tap the entire extent of anti-Atch sentiment or was his support limited by his political inexperience?

Could an incumbent councillor with greater name recognition, like Darren Hill or Charlie Clark, have beaten Atchison two years ago?

Will Atchison fatigue be an even greater factor in 2016?

Top 50 Photos of 2014: #49 – Parrish & Heimbecker’s Saskatoon Mill

Parrish & Heimbecker's Saskatoon Mill

Not really on of my favourite photos, nor was it my best photo of the night but Flickr liked it and it is my 49th most interesting photo of 2014.

Sidewalk clearing in Saskatoon

I have mixed feelings about sidewalk snow removal in Saskatoon.  I rather enjoy shovelling snow in part because when I was younger, I would go out and do it with my mom who always had me shovel the neighbour’s sidewalks on both sides of the house.  She would have seen it as karma but in the end it was because my sister had a disability that made it hard for her to walk and for my mom, it was two fewer houses she had to worry about.

Now Mark and I shovel the walk in front of our house.  We have a corner walk so I have Mark shovel two houses down.  There has been some karma involved for him as our neighbour finds this unacceptable that Mark does it for free and pays him for it (he travels a lot and loves coming home to a clean walk).  Mark has extended her service from door to door and is now doing our deck.  Mark also let’s Maggi come out with him and bounds in and out of the snow.  Depending on Maggi’s mood, she can actually knock more snow into the walk faster than Mark can shovel it out.  Even that doesn’t seem to bother Mark.

Wendy who works at 33rd Street Safeway walks the two blocks home and often notes that no one else shovels their walks, including the church across the street from us which is a triple lot.  That’s a lot of snow to wander through, especially when it gets icy.

I am not sure why no one shovels their walks anymore.  Even our neighbour who travels shovels his walk when he gets home.  I have heard him out with an ice scraper before (which is why he loves it when Mark does it now).

The city came out with it’s snow angel program a couple of years ago which reminded citizens that they had to shovel their own walk and if they could, shovel someone else’s walk.  It seemed to work well for a couple of years and then the city grew silent about it.  Since then snow there seems to be less and less snow clearing going on which makes it really hard for our neighbours who have disabilities to get around.  Like Wendy they have to walk to Safeway on 33rd.  Unlike Wendy they are doing it in a walker, wheelchairs or a cane and the snow and ice has a huge impact on their ability to get around.

Not only are they battling sidewalks that are uncleared but deep snow and ice at intersections.  It’s frustrating for me to get around, it’s even more frustrating for others.

If I was city council, instead of spending $3 million a year on snow removal on sidewalks, I would instead spend the money on the following things.

  • Clear the snow off and around city parks.  Clear the paths and the sidewalks.  I have listened to city managers say this is the case for years and then walk by A.H. Browne and see it covered with snow and ice.  If it is being done, it isn’t done in a timely manner.
  • Work with snow clearing crews to make sure intersections are clear of snow.  Piling up snow on the corners is an insane practice.  It happens a lot.
  • Bring back the Snow Angels campaign but also start to fine places that are not clearing sidewalks.  Seriously.  Write tickets.  The city by-law is that you have 24 hours to clear it and there are houses that go all winter without shovelling.  Make them pay the cost to have it cleared.
  • Work out a plan so that infirm seniors or those with disabilities can have some help clearing it.  I’d do something with local schools.  Kids will shovel for money.
  • Plug $3 million extra into snow removal for roads, especially side streets.  I know this doesn’t make sense when you are trying to create a walkable city but our roadways are sometimes the biggest obstacles to walking, especially if you have a disability.  The ruts are brutal on your car but can be unsurpassable if you are struggling to walk or get around.
  • Saskatoon is Winterstrong

    Saskatoon in Winterstrong

    I have long said that Saskatoon could and needs to do winter better.  Instead of complaining about it, we need to embrace it like Edmonton has done.  With the arrival of winter today in Saskatoon, I decided to come up with a list of 30 awesome things to do in Saskatoon this winter (actually it is 28 things, one awesome thing is in North Battleford and one in PANP).  If you have any ideas, let me know on the page.  I’ll add them all.

    Photo Radar coming to some Saskatoon school zones

    Nice job by the Saskatoon Police and SGI to put photo radars by Saskatoon schools.

    We’re just two weeks away from photo radar in Saskatoon, with the city identifying 10 possible locations where cameras could nab drivers for speeding.

    Working with the Saskatoon Police Service, the city says one camera will be shuffled between five high-risk locations on Circle Drive including Preston Avenue, 108th Street, Taylor Street, Airport Drive and the Circle Drive South Bridge.

    Drivers travelling at excessive speeds in those areas, where the speed limit tops out at 90km/h, could be served with a $110 fine plus $1 for every kilometer over the posted speed limit.
    A second camera will be shuffled between five school zones including St. Michael’s Community School, Brownell School, École Henry Kesley, École Canadienne-Française and Mother Teresa and Silverspring School.

    Drivers caught travelling faster than the 30km/h speed limit could face a $190 fine plus $2 for every kilometer over the posted speed limit.

    I can’t speak for the other schools but seeing photo radar on 33rd Street near St. Michael’s Community School and École Henry Kesley is a good thing.  33rd Street and those two schools have been a fatal combination before and if speeds can be lowered, its good for drivers and the community.

    No one likes tickets but if it saves some students from being hurt or even killed, it is worth it.

    Endless Evolution

    I don’t get this latest video from Tourism Saskatoon.  Great production values but basically it is Kim Coates saying he likes to come home to Saskatoon and that he had a good experience at the University of Saskatchewan.  He then had to move away to hone his craft.

    Tell me again how this is supposed to attract people to Saskatoon, unless they are thinking of taking drama?  I guess if the target is Kim Coates fans and we want them to know that he was from (and likes) Saskatoon, it is a good video but how big is that market?  Even then, all you have is Kim Coates riding around town on his motorcycle.

    Nice cameo by Murray Totland though.

    Happy Halloween

    Batman

    Here is Oliver Batman just as we headed out the door and visited Evergreen and where his Uncle Lee & Aunt Brittany now live.  He did a patrol of their home (and grabbed some candy) before heading back to Mayfair where him and his trusty sidekick Mark wandered up and down the streets fighting crime and trick or treating.  Nice job of Carpenter’s Church for giving neighbourhood kids a place to warm up, play some games, and of course get some candy tonight.