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 the farmers markets as a viable source of local food. I believe in the value of self grown food, it is healthy and has a lower carbon footprint than food produced in distant places. I support an enlarged community garden program to deal with the backlog in demand. Also, an informational campaign in collaboration with others e.g. the University to encourage back yard gardening.
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?
I support a downtown library but at half the cost. For example, Halifax recently built an award winning library for less than half the cost. I am a big believer in branch libraries accessibly placed in communities. These could be funded with the cost savings.
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?
Absolutely. The Albert Community Center for example is not only an architectural asset but also an important community center. It needs to be funded so that the vitality of the neighborhood is maintained. Also, the historic flavor of all our neighborhoods should be supported.
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 would seek help from the indigenous community on this question. I applaud the cities efforts to build meaningful links with the indigenous community.
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?
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?
There is too much pressure on street parking already. Buildings without parking add to this problem. Some residents purchased downtown buildings without parking and now find them unrentable. A rental complex built in ward 6 was given a no parking exemption. Come time to rent the units, the owner advertised that street parking was available.
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 Meewasin trail system is one of the jewels of Saskatoon. I look forwards to is expansion.
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?
I support any measure that calms traffic in urban areas. I know there are concerns about speed bumps and snow plowing so I would also consider other options.
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?
The bus system needs to be optimized so that bus service fits the needs of commuters. These have changed with COVID. Also transit needs to collect data on bus use along each route so that we can plan efficiently.
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?
Optimizing the bus route system so that it is convenient is a concern for some bus users and this is my next priority. I am interested in off peak fares to encourage wider use.
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?
I stand for a community focused Saskatoon. I will work to ensure all communities have adequate community centers and will encourage volunteer groups/child care groups to use these centers. Programs that offer children, youth, and at risk groups would be particularly welcome. I will encourage programs that provide both activity and social skills. Programs that both provides something to occupy and support people in the moment but that also give socail skills so that people are better equipped to navigate life.
I was a scout leader for 10 years, we know that this type of program can confer life long mental health advantages. See: Dibben C, Playford C, Mitchell R.J Epidemiol Community Health 2017; 71:275–281. Be(ing) prepared: Guide and Scout participation, childhood social position and mental health at age 50: a prospective birth cohort study
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?
As a person in this demographic, this is very important to me. Door knocking, I am very impressed with the vitality and engagement of many seniors and regard this as a major asset to our community.
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?
Tree bylaws can take two forms. In the UK there were programs where residents voluntarily added their trees to a protected list. Some residents are passionate enough to make this commitment. In parts of our City trees have been either legally or illegally removed and this has likely contributed to disastrous consequences like bank slippage. For sensitive locations, tree protection should be compulsory.
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?
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 am committed to supporting the environment and biodiversity and personally enjoy walking the swales. Unfortunately, I am not currently well enough informed to pass meaningful comment. I do intend to contact Louisea Jones of swalewatchers after the election.
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?
I support remaking sidewalks so that they are walkable for all ages. As they are remade, curb cuts for driveways should be replaced with a level sidewalk with a sloped curb. This is the standard in newer subdivisions and should become the standard in older neighborhoods. I do not like falling on icy driveway cuts. I support a safe, connected, bike path network and I am actively working to make this happen by addressing both cyclists and motorists concerns. Motorists do not want cycle paths on the roads because they compete for space and slow traffic. I advocate for off road cycle paths either alongside the sidewalk where possible or down back alleys. The latter would have to be paved and prioritized at intersections. A good example of where this approach is possible is the southwards expansion of the Victoria Ave trail. Instead of continuing on Victoria south of 8th, move through a paved back alley to East Lake and then continue with an offroad cycle path down East Lake. To make snow removal easier, I suggest putting both lanes on the same side of the road.
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?
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?
When I first visited North America, experienced Brits explained that if you wanted to use a bathroom you simply asked and walked into a restaurant or gas station. This is an inexpensive option that seems to work. I will work to make sure all have access without bias.
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?
I want to move faster on the environment. I also want a more peopled centered approach. I support a fully funded safe, connected bike path network (see above). I also support the LED light conversion. I want to move faster on retrofitting homes. I believe this is better accomplished through grants than through the cities proposed loan program (see my video at https://youtu.be/RFRkFh0Daks ). Building standards should be upgraded to make new builds environmentally friendly. I am very impressed with the work out of Edmonton where net zerom homes are being built https://www.ecohome.net/guides/1031/award-winning-net-zero-house-in-edmonton/ Door knocking, I was also impressed to come across a home that had been geothermally heated for around 15 years.
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?
Green home retrofits
Community drop off points for recyclable material that is no longer blue bin friendly.
An efficient transit system.
Working from home (not in the plan but a great, environmentally friendly option for some).