Colin Prang

Q1 Food: Food is one of our most fundamental basic needs, but not everyone in Saskatoon has access to fresh, affordable food. The Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Partnership’s 12 Bold Ideas to Eliminate Poverty states that making food more affordable includes a combination of reducing food costs, ensuring people have more income to buy food, and ensuring everyone has access to healthy food choices. Building food assets (e.g., emergency food assistance, meal programs, gardening and farming, grocery markets/stores, community supports and education programs) in every Saskatoon neighbourhood would improve access to healthy food, reduce social isolation, drive local economic development, and address food insecurity. What initiatives and policy options will you champion or support to ensure every neighbourhood in Saskatoon has access to healthy and affordable food?

I support community gardens and I would support initiatives such as tax abatement to promote industry to locate high intensity greenhouse operations within the light industrial areas such as along 11th street west.

Q2 Arts and Culture: A new central library is an investment that will benefit all members of the Saskatoon community for years to come. The new central library build will generate jobs and economic growth.  This will be especially important as we recover from the financial fallout of COVID-19. The total project budget has not changed since it was approved and is $134 million.   Since 2009 there have been scheduled incremental increases to the library levy to build the capital reserves for the project. Future increases are scheduled to be $645,000 in the years 2021-2024; and $200,000 in 2025 and 2026. The average homeowner will see increases of less than $5 per year in 2021-2024, and less than $1.60 per year in 2025 and 2026. This schedule fully funds the new central library project, including debt repayment and increases to operating costs once the library is open, which means there are no additional increases related to the new central library project beyond 2026. Do you support the building of a library for downtown Saskatoon, as committed to the current City Council?

If we go back on past decisions then it will be almost impossible to do any long term planning. Libraries still play a vital role for many individuals in Saskatoon. If this project came to me in 2020 I would approve it but at a lower budget amount.

Q3 Arts and Culture: Our built and natural environments provide a framework for our urban living. Our buildings and spaces contribute to a unique sense of place and help tell the story of Saskatoon. Our heritage buildings and structures remind us of our history and provide much richness to our surroundings. They are appreciated by residents and play an important role in attracting visitors to our city. If elected, will you champion support for our built heritage?

It is so nice seeing and knowing the history of Saskatoon’s unique buildings. Additionally it is nice to see and learn about structures such as the Blairmore Potash Ring.

Q4 Food: Food sovereignty is defined as “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.” Indigenous food sovereignty refers to a specific policy approach to addressing the underlying issues impacting Indigenous peoples and their ability to respond to their own needs for healthy, culturally adapted Indigenous foods. How can the City of Saskatoon contribute to Indigenous food sovereignty?

I feel this is more a Provincial Government role but if policies of this nature come before Council I will consider them.

Q5 Urban Planning: One of the goals of Saskatoon’s Strategic Plan (2013-2023) is “Sustainable Growth.” This includes planning for a healthy balance of greenfield and infill development – to grow the city inward and upward as well as outward. Responsible and strategic neighborhood infill would include consulting with the vulnerable populations affected, protecting existing affordable housing and heritage sites, and taking steps to limit sprawl and disparity in living conditions in new neighborhood developments. Do you support providing affordable housing to people living in core neighborhoods to minimize the social and economic displacement that could result from significant increases in infill development?

Well planned affordable housing strengthens all of Saskatoon. To be sustainable Saskatoon will need to continue to grow upward and get more people living in the downtown.

Q6 Urban Planning: Mandatory parking requirements have been shown to increase construction costs and decrease affordability of housing. Some cities — including Edmonton — have done away with parking minimums, to allow the market to decide how much parking to build. Do you support Saskatoon allowing the market to decide how much parking to include with new developments? 

I dont support removing parking minimums. The problem with allowing the market decide is that issues are not realized until the development is completed and at that stage corrective measures may not even be possible.

Q7 Urban Planning: The Meewasin Trail is one of Saskatoon’s outdoor recreation treasures, used daily by city residents and visitors for strolling, running, and cycling. Winding under bridges and linking parks and natural areas along both sides of the river, it runs more than 90 kms in length. If elected, will you support the Meewasin trail development plans currently in progress and look for ways to continue to sustain the trail network in Saskatoon?

The river valley is one of the first things that I show off to friends visiting Saskatoon. We need to continue to support and maintain this green asset.

Q8 Urban Planning: Many Saskatoon neighbourhoods now have speed bumps on residential streets to slow drivers and reduce vehicle noise. Do you support the further expansion of speed bumps as a way to manage the negative effects of car traffic in Saskatoon?

Speed bumps have a fundimental flaw that they can injure drivers, damage vehicles and snow clearing equipment, and can create vehicle noise. They also force emergency vehicles to slow down. I fully support other methods to slow down traffic such as digital speed signs, radar, intersection bulbing, and pavement markings. Speed humps should only be used as a last resort.

Q9 Public Transportation: Saskatoon has invested significant resources in the development of a Bus Rapid Transit system as part of the City’s Growth Plan (2016). Planning is well underway for a high-frequency, direct bus service along the city’s major corridors and construction is scheduled to begin in 2022. The full system is expected to be in operation by June of 2025. Are you committed to maintaining the timeline to meet the 2025 completion date for the Bus Rapid Transit system?

It is essential to plan well in advance for future growth including transit, freeways, and even LRT. It has been proven that early planning and zoning changes can dramatically increase the success and decrease capital costs.

Q10 Public Transportation: Other enhancements to Saskatoon Transit have been discussed that would make bus service more affordable, accessible, and reliable, while still minimizing greenhouse gas emissions. They include, for example, changes to the fare system, better connectivity, provisions for the poor and disabled, and improved communications. What are your priorities in further enhancing Saskatoon Transit to meet the needs of all people in Saskatoon?

I worked for the City of St. Albert and they had exchanged all of their busses from diesel to electric. The new buses were very quiet and the battery life was excellent do to all the braking at stops. And they also added solar panels to the bus garage to aid in reducing GHG. The maintenance costs were also much lower than for the diesel buses. This is my main transit priority.

Q1 Equity: Many youth in our city have limited access to safe, healthy activities after school and in the evening. Within Saskatoon’s marginalized populations, many parents or guardians are either working or not present. This can leave youth at risk of engaging in unhealthy behaviours such as drug use or gang activity. If elected, what will you do to ensure that these young people have access to safe, healthy activities/programs after school and in the evening?

It is important to limit the amount of youth getting into drugs and gangs. If after school programs achieve this then I would support ways to increase these. A significant amount of crime in Saskatoon is related to drugs and gangs so this would be a great way to reduce crime at the source.

Q2 Equity: The largest population increase in Canada and Saskatchewan over the next 30 years will be in the over age 65 age group. In that time span it is estimated that this group will grow to comprise 25% of the country’s population.  In Saskatoon the over 65 population now stands at just over 13% of our population. By 2032, that figure is expected to grow to 20%. The city and province need to begin acting now to ensure we are prepared to support and include this new demographic of older adults who want to be active participants in community development and enriched community engagement and inclusion. An age-friendly community is a designation accepted world-wide for cities and communities that are working to make the following elements more age friendly: outdoor spaces and buildings; transportation; housing; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; communication and information; social participation; and, community and health services. Would you support applying an age-friendly lens to all new policies and practices in Saskatoon to ensure the voices and needs of older adults are represented?

All projects should consider the needs of all.

Q3 Environment: Urban forests across Canada and globally are recognized as a municipal asset and part of a city’s infrastructure because of the ecological benefits they confer. Many cities have bylaws in place to protect trees. However, Saskatoon still does not have such a bylaw. As a result, trees are often removed without consideration for the long-term impact and in the absence of scientific evidence on good urban tree management. Do you support creating a tree protection bylaw for our city? 

I worked for the City for 15 years and the City trees were considered green assets and we frequently used alternative methods such as trenchless installation of pipes to avoid removal. In certain rare instances that trees were removed then that department would pay the Parks Department the determined value of the tree(s) so that several new trees could be planted. The same procedure was used if residents removed a City tree. Some trees were valued at over $20,000. In my experience the City has been very good at protecting trees and in particular elm trees. Last year I removed a private elm in July (pruning elms in not allowed from April to September but full removal is allowed if the wood goes to the landfill) and a City Parks truck showed up within 45 Minutes to make sure the wood was going to be properly disposed. Trees and diversity of trees make Saskatoon beautiful and I support policies that protect these assets.

Q4 Environment: Urban forests across Canada and globally are recognized as a municipal asset and part of a city’s infrastructure because of the ecological benefits they confer. Many cities have bylaws in place to protect trees. However, Saskatoon still does not have such a bylaw. As a result, trees are often removed without consideration for the long-term impact and in the absence of scientific evidence on good urban tree management. Do you support the development of a long-term strategy for ensuring that protection of trees is part of sustainable planning?

I believe that City trees and their protection is already part of the City’s sustainable planning. Many pests and dieseses have impacted Saskatoon’s trees in just the past 20 years. The bronze birch borer killed about 80% of the grey birch trees from 2000 to 2005. Black knot, is more slowly killing the chokecherry tress from about 2010 and it still continues. The black ash trees were devistated in 2018 by the psyllid that killed tens of thousands of ash trees. All the trees removed on 22nd street between Whitney and Ave W were black ash. The City no longer plants only one type of tree on a particular block. I support urban forests and strategies that keep the urban forest healthy.

Q5 Environment: There is less than 5% of natural grassland remaining in and around Saskatoon, and only 11-13% remaining in all of Saskatchewan. Every year Saskatchewan loses over 10,000 acres of wetlands and the many ecological benefits these areas provide. For these reasons, Saskatoon’s Northeast and Small Swales are especially valuable, providing habitat, flood protection, carbon sequestration, and recreation for a large area of the city. Their loss would have a negative impact on residents. Many major developments are planned for the northeast sector of Saskatoon, including a major provincial highway, industrial development, and new neighbourhoods surrounding the Swales. What measures would you support to ensure long term environmental protection for Saskatoon’s Northeast and Small Swales, and safety for animals and drivers, cyclists and pedestrians? 

I grew up on a farm that had native prairie and I understand how rare those grasses are now. I noticed that during the construction of Konihowski road near Le May crescent that the native grass within the right of way was transplanted. I support the protection of the NE swale but I also understand that a roadway around such a long linear feature will cause significantly extra fuel consumption which is also bad for the environment. I will strive to find a balance between development and environmental protection

Q6 Active Transportation: Saskatoon has levied above-inflation residential property tax increases for the last several years. A City of Victoria study found that it costs a municipality $0.01 (one cent) in maintenance for every kilometer of a trip on foot compared to $1 (one dollar) in maintenance for every kilometer of a trip taken by car. Do you support increasing investment in active transportation as one strategy for reducing the amount the City of Saskatoon spends on road maintenance costs?

Saskatoon has twice as many cyclists as the national average. I have cycled for many years and I support sensible additions to the trail network.

Q7 Active Transportation: The City’s Active Transportation Plan (ATP) released in 2016 set out the following vision: In 2045, Saskatoon is a leading city for active transportation, where walking and cycling are convenient, comfortable, attractive, fun and normal ways of moving around the city year round for residents and visitors of all ages and abilities. The ATP target is to double walking and cycling trips to 24% of all daily trips and 15% of all commute trips by 2045. Ensuring cyclists and pedestrians feel safe will be one of the keys to achieving these goals. Do you support the City of Saskatoon investing in the necessary physical infrastructure to safely separate cycling traffic from both vehicular traffic and pedestrians?

I used to cycle in Saskatoon at least 20km a day for 4 years including cycling all winter. I learned the following: Saskatoon has a significant bike theft problem, bikes should never be on arterial streets, the paved trails along the river appear to be wide enough for cyclists and pedestrians. To get more people to cycle we need lockup areas that have camera surveillance. I have had friends that had bikes stolen and no longer cycle and I have had five bikes stolen and I only will buy the cheapest bikes now. I am seeing that on the new arterials there are bike trails included during construction and I support this. It is far too dangerous to have cyclist on arterial and expressway roads. I do not support having a 1.5m concrete sidewalks and a 2m paved trail on the same side of a roadway. A paved trail that is 2.5m wide should be able to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians as it does along the river. I recently drove along the McOrmond Dive north commuter roadway and noticed that through the swale the median dividing opposing traffic was not constructed resulting in a safety concerns. This was likely done to reduce the footprint of the roadway through an environmentally sensitive area; however there is a sidewalk and a bike trail on BOTH sides of the roadway. I do not support a policy that creates safety issues for motorists or the construction of excess infrastructure. A sidewalk on one side and a bike trail on the other and a median to separate traffic would be my vote every time.

Q8 Health: Access to public washrooms is a fundamental human right. The United Nations General Assembly declared that everyone, without discrimination is entitled to “have physical and affordable access to sanitation, in all spheres of life, that is safe, hygienic, secure, and social and culturally acceptable, and that provides privacy and dignity.” Access to public washrooms affects everyone in the community and is especially critical for seniors, pregnant women, young children, those with certain medical conditions, and those who are homeless. COVID-19 has highlighted the need for more public washrooms in Saskatoon. Relying on private businesses or non-profit organizations to meet the basic needs of our community is inequitable and amplifies discrimination of some people. In 2017 Washington DC passed a bylaw mandating that city to install 10 public standalone washrooms that are open 24/7, and proposed a program to incentivize private businesses to open their washrooms to the public. Do you support Saskatoon passing a similar bylaw, which will ensure 24/7 access to public washrooms?

I would have never thought that lack of public washrooms was an issue but Covid has changed a lot of things. I was in Westmount A last month and I had to go to 5 different businesses along 22nd before I could find one that had a bathroom that wasn’t locked up. This issue will likely subside when Covid does but there currently seems to be a problem in some areas.

Q9 Climate Change: Urban areas are responsible for around two thirds of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. They are also greatly affected by climate change. Therefore, cities have a critical role to play in mitigating and adapting to global warming. The City of Saskatoon has national and global commitments to address climate change issues, as a member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and as a signatory to the 2015 Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. The City of Saskatoon Climate Action Plan includes strategies for climate change mitigation (Low Emissions Community Plan, or LEC Plan) and proactively adapting infrastructure, services, and programs (Adaptation Strategy). Although the Low Emissions Community Plan has been approved by City Council and many actions are moving forward, many others have not been progressing as planned. Only 10 out of 25 actions that are to be started in the next 4 years (Phases 1 and 2) have been funded. According to the Saskatoon’s Corporate Risk 2018 Annual Report, the City may not be prepared for the effects of climate change, which represents a medium level risk to the overall corporation. One of the main stalemates for the Low Emissions Community Plan has been ensuring the long-term budgeting, as this plan is a 30-year long strategy. Do you support the city committing long-term funding to implement the Low Emissions Community Plan?

The world is slowly moving towards lowering emissions and this 30 year plan has several items in it that will result in monitary savings for the government and for citizens and will actually result in a reasonable return on investment without even considering the environmental and health benefits.

Q10 Climate Change: The 40 actions set out in the LEC Plan will provide a host of benefits beyond environmental protection, such as improving public health, diversifying our local economy, improvement, and increasing equity and quality of life. What actions from the Low Emissions Community Plan would you prioritize to be implemented in your Ward or the City as a whole?

 Street lights have a lifespan of around 50 years and there are lots of these lights in Ward 3 that are near the end of their life. I support the replacement of these lights with LED in the next four years.