Share your ideas on how Saskatoon should grow to half a million people!

This forum will end on March 21, 2014 so we can use your input to guide the development of specific options for Growing Forward! Shaping Saskatoon.

Please watch www.growingfwd.ca over the next few months, as we will be posting more information about how we move around and grow to half a million people.

The ultimate test for any urban planning policy is in fact, the extent to which it contributes to improving the standard of living for Saskatoon residents, while reducing poverty levels. For economic growth to be sustainable, we must recognize that people are moving here for a higher standard of living. Employment and income opportunities are greater today than ever before. If our housing costs continue to escalate due to public policy decisions, however, much of the economic gain for individuals and families is a wash. As Saskatchewan enjoyed the largest increase in median household income of any province between 2006 and 2011, house prices escalated well beyond incomes. The net effect is that the lower-cost detached house has become a thing of the past. The higher house prices that developed between 2006 and 2012 are estimated to have disqualified approximately 20 per cent of Saskatoon metropolitan area households from purchasing the average price existing house. In the more expensive new house market, it is estimated approximately 15 per cent of households that would have qualified for mortgages in 2006 would not today because of the higher prices. Throw in increased rent costs and increased utility costs, and you have the start of a seriously unaffordable city in which to live.

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Rob Brown about 5 years ago

I see the signs that say, "Saskatoon Shines." And I acknowledge that it does, for some. But for many others, Saskaatoon has more of a dull, muddy glow. Saskatoon is seriously beset with problems, most of which are related to poverty — illness, poor housing, lack of education, too much education, and so much more. We recognize some of those; we know some of those are there, but we have no plan to deal with them. We need to make sure that Saskatoon Shines for everyone.

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Travis Kieluk about 5 years ago

It's not clear to me why the cost of rent has increased by as much and as quickly as it has. It is clear that a high number of people know there is an affordable housing shortage but not so many know the legitimate reasons for this shortage if any. One can always say that is has a little to do with greed but I would like to challenge someone with more insight into the economics to comment.

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Nik MacD about 5 years ago

What would be really nice is if the city actually started paying attention to the rampant bedbug problem infesting most of the apartment buildings that are priced reasonably. It's time to start holding landlords/property mgmt. companies accountable. Oh look, I just got another rent increase notice. Guess I have to start paying for the bedbugs' room & board now.

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Elishah Stilborn about 5 years ago

Another thing that has been rising in Saskatoon is the cost of public transit. In a few days, the monthly Go-Pass will take another jump to 81.00 per month for adults. In accordance with high rent, high bills and the cost of living, that's a big jump! For a lot of people who take the transit, myself included, our wages are staying the same but our means to get to and from work and/or school are rising in price. I don't see the need to raise it every year (or so) and I don't see what the extra money is going towards. Transit is supposed to be affordable for all, but if it keeps going up, I might just have start using a car or a bike because that may end up being cheaper in the long run! I want to support the transit system and encourage others to take transit with me, both in support of my city and the environment, but it's getting harder and harder.

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Peter Gravlin about 5 years ago

Saskatoon has advantages and beauty to the envy of most cities. Much more could be made of this with some creative adjustment of how we transport ourselves. Nutana has become a de facto parking lot for downtown workers who logically choose to park in Nutana and walk across the bridge to work. While logical for them, this practice is to the detriment of Nutana as a neighbourhood. In the long run, public transit must become a more logical choice for downtown workers to make instead of parking in Nutana. Also, and not restricted to Nutana, a serious look at one way streets and/or one side only parking on many residential streets should be undertaken. I believe that many streets that are now virtually impassable in winter and not much better in summer, would be greatly improved with these types of changes.

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Jon Ellis about 5 years ago

How is it we fail as a community to always be asking and answering how can we be helping each other to be the best we can be - without fail or exception?

Today, in Saskatoon, the capitalist system is clearly, irrevocably failing its indigenous peoples as well as those who are coming lured by the promise of solid employment but are finding instead crumbling infrastructure, long cold Winters, and an absence of safe and affordable housing. Saskatoon has this one short moment of industrial might, but in the year 2014 all indicators are showing that this moment of opportunity will stand as irrefutable proof of the indictment leveled by Karl Marx’s The Communist Manifesto:

“[I]n order to oppress a class, certain conditions must be assured to it under which it can at least continue its slavish existence. … The modern laborer … instead of rising with the progress of industry, sinks deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class. He becomes a pauper, and pauperism develops more rapidly than population and wealth. And here it becomes evident that the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society. … It is unfit to rule because it is incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his slavery. … Society can no longer live under the bourgeoisie; in other words, its existence is no longer compatible with society.”

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Karen Swan about 5 years ago

Poverty is rampant, and it seems that the powers that be in Saskatoon want to blame poverty on the poor. Did you know that if you give a poor person $100, they will spend it - BECAUSE THE HAVE TO. If you give a rich person $100, they will probably do nothing with it, because it doesn't matter to them. What that tells me is that people who live paycheck to paycheck are putting MORE into the economy than those who can afford to do nothing with that $100. Rent (even in low income units) is very high. I fear living in a box on the side of the road soon, because I simply will not be able to afford rent. And my health actually suffers because of poverty, since I cannot afford the proper nutrition to get healthy. Yet, people look at me and say that my poverty is my fault because I'm poor, lazy, unmotivated, and play on being sick. (I'd like those people to live in my body for a week, and tell me what the truth is.) Affordable housing is not a $350,000 "entry level" home for sale. It is rent that doesn't get to $1000 in a low income unit - especially when a person's income is $1400 a month. And, living in such a place shouldn't mean you have to put up with neighbors who get treated for bedbugs every month, either. Poverty is not a disease. Poverty is a choice that lawmakers make to inflict on the citizens. It could be changed with a shift in policy and attitude.

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Peter Gravlin about 5 years ago

I just don't buy the argument that Saskatoon needs a new motor vehicle bridge in place of the Victoria Bridge. There are already three bridges giving vehicular access to downtown. If one goes out of service, the other two can handle it. More importantly though, is the concept of encouragement of non motor vehicle transport downtown, and a huge part of that is safe pedestrian/cyclist access from Nutana. As it is now, the bridge system acts as a discouragement for non motor vehicle access from Nutana, and more's the pity. I am actually suspicious of the city's proclamation that the Victoria Bridge was unsafe even for non motor vehicle crossing, but assuming the verisimilitude of the proclamation, why not save the tax payer millions of dollars and build a new bridge that serves a truly progressive purpose and helps to put Saskatoon on the map that counts, instead of pushing us further onto the dark side?

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Jennifer Gelowitz about 5 years ago

Not only affordable housing but also proper roadcare! Potholes for one half of the year, ruts and ice for the other half is detrimental to our growth. Snowplows should be out in force during a snowstorm, not after all the snow has accumulated on the roads and people getting to work have gotten into a ton of accidents because of this lag between storm and clearing. Also if taxes are getting jacked up like they are, something should be shown for it! The horrible "snow clearing" we've received as of late, and the fact no one at City Hall listens to the people when we were opposed to the new art gallery, when the money being used for that bottomless pit could have been put towards keeping roads and bridges in better shape!

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Jennifer Gelowitz about 5 years ago

And a website that's more user friendly! I just typed all that above in the that first text box, and it was a search box! What a waste of time!

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Lee Thomas about 5 years ago

Hi Karen,

Thanks for the idea on how Saskatoon should grow to half a million people. Affordable housing is certainly a key consideration for any successful municipality. While Growing Forward! won't focus directly on that issue, it will identify and prioritize redevelopment potential along Saskatoon's major corridors to: - Create and enhance complete communities with a variety of housing choices; - Improve access to employment and amenities; and, - Improve mobility options for people along these corridors, as well as city-wide.

I encourage you to come out to our event on February 25th at TCU Place from 10-1 or 6-9 to provide your input on how we evaluate and prioritize redevelopment opportunities along our key corridors. If that does not suit your schedule, we will be livetweeting the event (#yxegrowingfwd) and there will be opportunity to take part online.

For more information on affordable housing in Saskatoon, please go to www.saskatoon.ca and look under 'A' for Affordable Housing.

Regards, Lee Thomas Project Manager, Growing Forward! Shaping Saskatoon

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Lee Thomas about 5 years ago

Hi Elishah,

The cost of transit has been increasing not only in Saskatoon, but comparably in other cities of similar sizes. Annual fare increases reflect the increased costs of operating transit resulting from inflation.

Unlike investments in roads and other infrastructure, cost recovery from the bus farebox has become a measure of effectiveness for most transit systems. Transit revenues contribute to 39% of Saskatoon Transit’s operating budget, which is fairly consistent with other similar Canadian cities. The City contributes to 59% of Transit’s operating budget and the remaining 2% is contributed by the province.

Transit funding and user costs are certainly issues to be discussed as we look to isolate barriers to transit use today so we may work towards a future transit system that is an attractive choice for our daily needs. I encourage you to join us at our February 25th event at TCU Place from 10-1 or 6-9, for our event livetweet at #yxegrowingfwd or online at www.growingfwd.ca to take part in this discussion.

Regards, Lee Thomas Project Manager, Growing Forward! Shaping Saskatoon

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Lee Thomas about 5 years ago

Hi Peter,

I couldn't agree more! Growing Forward! is about having a rethink of the transportation opportunities and choices provided in Saskatoon. This conversation will begin with Transit and later evolve to include Active Transportation.

Your observation regarding the benefit of one-sided parking on narrower residential streets is quite interesting. The Traffic Management Group is currently working on a Traffic Management Plan for the Nutana area that you may find quite interesting. Please feel free to contact Justine Nyen, the Traffic Safety Engineer leading the Nutana area project, if you have any comments or questions (justine.nyen@saskatoon.ca).

Thanks for your thoughts and keep contributing! We will be back here on Shaping Saskatoon on February 25th with more questions and ideas for your consideration.

Regards, Lee Thomas, Project Manager, Growing Forward! Shaping Saskatoon

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Lee Thomas about 5 years ago

Hi Jennifer,

We know that Saskatoon is changing and it is how we manage this change that is important. If we keep our eyes open and proactively plan for this change, we will be in a better position to navigate the challenges associated with rapid population growth that have occurred in some of our neighbouring cities.

Growing Forward! will help guide civic investments for the next 30 to 40 years by addressing Growth along Major Corridors, Transit, Rapid Transit and Core Bridge needs. This initiative is an opportunity for you to have your say on specific options and action plans for Saskatoon.

So while the City recognizes that it takes a lot of work to do to maintain our daily lives and a thriving municipality, we are also looking to plan ahead so our growth is sustainable, affordable and maintains a high quality of life for Saskatoon’s citizens.

Regards, Lee Thomas, Project Manager, Growing Forward! Shaping Saskatoon

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Lila Wagner about 5 years ago

My family is all-Albertan, but I've lived in Saskatoon for over 35 years. It has only been very recently that I've stopped using a mantra that I developed a few decades ago: Saskatoon plans for...five years ago and not for fifteen years hence.

Although I finished my high school in Edmonton/St. Albert, I visited in Calgary when the 1960's Calgarian expansion swallowed up vast amounts of farmland south of the actual buildings. Edmonton, however, was hemmed in by Sherwood Park and St Albert. When I moved to Saskatoon, I hoped that planning would prevent the egregious Alberta errors. But, instead I discovered that the "Circle Drive" was only 3/4's finished because it seemed important to get all that through traffic routed towards downtown. Hence my mantra, but forward planning was further complicated by the "love for CP Rail" that kept the main tracks going right through the heart of the city (what a great corridor for LRT--as you see in Calgary and Edmonton).

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Beverley Kinshella about 5 years ago

Thisi is my first comment - hopefully it won't upset too many! I am a little concerned with the snow that is piled on my crescent. The city because of pressure from some came and grated our crescent, court etc but pushed all the snow to the side of the road. As we all know WE can not put snow on the side of the road from city sidewalks - have to be shoveled into our yards. My concern is we are on a slight hill in my crecscent and this hard icy snow is pushed all along the sidewalk and blocking the drains and when melting starts where does the water go? Is the city coming to remove all these 4 ft piles?

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Lee Thomas about 5 years ago

Hello Lila,

Thank-you for taking the time to add your thoughts to the Growing Forward! discussion.

I am very glad that you have decided to change your ‘Saskatoon plans for…’ mantra! Since the city is surrounded by vast areas of undeveloped land, there have been few constraints to outward growth. However, the City has made a concerted effort to reimagine its suburban developments to create new neighbourhoods that are more sustainable, and provide more options for where people choose to live & work. Efforts are also being directed at neighbourhood and strategic infill throughout existing areas (City Centre, North Downtown, U of S) to balance growth and opportunities for living. Growing Forward! Shaping Growth will focus on redevelopment along major existing roadways to support these other infill strategies and help to draw more people inward as we continue to grow.

Growing Forward! is also looking to rethink how we move around Saskatoon, particularly within Circle Drive. With an anticipated doubling of our population over the next 30 years, we can expect roughly twice as many people moving around the city. So how do we move more people, rather than just more cars? This naturally leads to a discussion of our transit system and the services expected in a growing city.

While we are just getting started with these discussions, I encourage you to keep an eye on www.growingfwd.ca over the next few months, as we will have more information coming out regarding how we move around and grow to half a million people. Based on the input we are receiving right now, we will be developing specific alternatives for Shaping Growth, Transit and Bridges to be considered by the public this fall.

Regards, -Lee Thomas, Project Manager, Growing Forward! Shaping Saskatoon

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Lee Thomas about 5 years ago

Hello Beverley,

Thank-you for your comment. As the Growing Forward! initiative is not focusing on snow removal programs, I have forwarded your comment/enquiry to the City’s Public Works group for consideration. For other concerns or comments related to snow removal, please call 975-2476.

Regards, -Lee Thomas, Project Manager, Growing Forward! Shaping Saskatoon

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