North Commuter Bridge
Saskatoon residents will be hearing more about the proposed North Commuter Bridge as the year progresses. The new bridge will link the Marquis Industrial area and the University Heights area, and will function as an arterial bridge similar to the existing University and Broadway bridges.
At the January 7 council meeting, council approved Clifton Associates Ltd to complete the preliminary geotechnical and environmental investigations for a feasibility assessment at a cost of just over $100,000
The North Commuter Bridge grew out of the Integrated Growth Plan that the City Council adopted in June 2012. Construction of the bridge supports the City of Saskatoon Strategic Goal “Moving Around,” as it optimizes the flow of people and goods in and around the city.
The preliminary consultation doesn't require public input, but any functional plan that comes out of the consultation will.
East Riverbank Slope Stabilization
Maybe you remember the unreal slope failure that happened at 17th Street East and Saskatchewan Crescent on the weekend of June 17, 2012, when the street literally collapsed from the constant wear of the river on the bank.
At the January 7 council meeting, council awarded Golder Associates a contract to fix the street so it can be reopened to traffic at a cost of just over $100,000. The same group has been monitoring the slope movement since the slope collapsed last June.
Riverbank slope stability has always been an issue in Saskatoon. In fact, a slope failure occurred at the same location in 1950. We have a beautiful river running through the heart of our city, but at price to our infrastructure!
Hazardous Waste Collection Days
Did you know the city hosts 16 hazardous waste collection days every year? Envirotec Services Incorporated has run the program since it started, and as of the January 7 meeting, they're set to run it again this year.
New this year is that the program will operate from the parking lot of the Credit Union Centre to make it easier for residents to access.
Materials the city accepts at the wast collection days include adhesives, aerosols, automotive, batteries, cleaners, corrosives, fuels, mercury, oxidizers, poisons, pharmaceuticals, propane cylinders, and solvents.
Wastewater Treatment Plan Cogeneration System
If you went to school on the North End of the city, you were probably forced to tour the Wastewater Treatment Plant at some time. It's perhaps not one of the nicer spots in Saskatoon, but treating waste is an important part of any city.
At the January 7 meeting, the city moved forward on implementing a new system at the plant that will save energy and reduce greenhouse gases. Council has hired AECOM Canada Ltd. to design and guide the implementation of a cogeneration project.
The biogas produced by the digesters is used to heat the building, but currently, and excess methane gas not used in the boilers is disposed of by flaring. The cogeneration system will harness this excess gas, and has the potential to produce 65 per cent of the electral needs of the plant, and 100 per cent of the necessary heat energy for the plant process.
The new system will result in greenhouse gas reductions, and it's a renewable energy source – this source of energy will increase along with the city population.
Dog Parks in New Areas
Dog owners might be happy to hear there are plans for more dog parks on the horizon.
Officially known as off-leash recreation areas, dog parks are currently are planned by the city on a case-by-case basis, but at the January 21 council meeting, they introduced a plan for planning and programming of existing and future dog parks, including criteria for the parks, and the process for the establishments of parks in new and existing neighbourhoods.
In the past, dog parks have been created wherever there was large space in undeveloped parts of a neighbourhood, but as the city grows, we'll need to find a more systematic way to do this.
University Bridge Rehabilitation
Also at the January 21 meeting, CH2M Hill was awarded the contract to rehabilitate the University Bridge at a cost of about $1.2 million.
The bridge requires work to be completed by the end of 2014. Design of the rehabilitation work needs to be completed in 2013 so that construction can start in early 2014.
Originally constructed in 1916, the rehabilitation project will help extend the life of the structure.
Lots of Capital Projects on the go
Capital projects the city plans to borrow money for need to be announced to the public. The February 11 meeting included a list of nine capital projects for 2013:
-Transit DART System Improvements at $1.3 million.
-The Automatic Meter Conversion Project at $1 million.
-The Watewater Lift Station Upgrades Project at $4.7 million.
-The Wastewater Electrical Redundancy Standby Generator at $5.8 million.
-The Reservoir Pumping Capacity Project at a cost of up to $15 million.
-Water Treatment Plant Reservoir Capacity Expansion throughout the Distribution System at $27.6 million.
-The Water Treatment Plant Queen Elizabeth Raw Waterline Repair Project at $300,000.
-Water Treatment Plant Decommissioning of the Queen Elizabeth Former Intake at $500,000.
-Water Treatment Plant Acadia Reservoir Pump Replacement at $500,000.
The 2013 Capital Budget has already been approved, but the projects can only proceed once the public has been made aware of the city's intent to borrow. The Public Notice for Borrowing is one way the city stays accountable and transparent to Saskatoon's citizens.
Integrated Growth Plan
The city is still making strides towards its Integrated Growth Plan first adopted in February 2012. The IGP includes nine strategies related to land use and transportation that will help guide the growth of Saskatoon as the population reaches 500,000.
Some of those strategies include establishing infill corridors; supporting strategic infill areas; developing incentives to support strategic infill; establishing rapid transit corridors and reinventing the bus system based on those corridors; and building new roads and bridges.
At the February 11 meeting, a report updated councilors on the progress of the plan, and included a preliminary time line for the plan from 2013 to 2015.
Heavy Snow Fall Still Causing Troubles
The city is still dealing with the effects of the heavy snowfall we've seen this year. At the February 11 council meeting, councilors adopted recommendations to extend the city's contracts with Lafarge Aggregates and Winter Trucking Assistance to ensure there are enough resources to maintain three snow dump sites and haul snow for the remainder of the winter.
Overall, the city is paying $1.2 million more than expected for storage and hauling.