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Civic Services & Holiday Hours for Labour Day, Monday, September 6.

September 2, 2021 - 2:59pm

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September 2, 2021 - 3:00pm

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The City of Saskatoon will have a number of adjusted civic services and altered holiday hours on Labour Day, Monday, September 6. Wondering what’s open or closed? Full detail on the City’s website.

Bus Rapid Transit timeline extended due to pandemic

September 1, 2021 - 4:03pm

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September 1, 2021 - 4:00pm

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An information report being presented to the City of Saskatoon Transportation Committee on September 7, 2021, will outline the required extension to the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project timeline to ensure engagement on the system will be in-depth, inclusive and accessible. This extension is necessary due to the challenges presented by COVID-19 to the public engagement process, most notably the inability to meet with partners and stakeholders in person.

“The BRT project was unexpectedly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Terry Schmidt, General Manager of Transportation and Construction. “Not being able to meet in person meant we were unable to meet our engagement principles of inclusivity and relationship building. We determined it was necessary to extend the launch date to June 2026 so we can gather the important public and staff input needed to ensure the BRT system meets the needs of our residents.”

Service launch of the BRT system was originally planned for June 2025. Public feedback is required on several areas about the planning and construction of the BRT network. It is expected that engagement opportunities will be available soon (dependent on pandemic restrictions and health orders) and will continue throughout the project. Interested residents can participate in the BRT process by signing up for the project enewsletter to stay informed about upcoming opportunities.

Visit saskatoon.ca/brt for more information on the BRT project.

Masks required on Transit & indoor City-operated facilities; City also implements new staff health, safety measures including rapid tests

August 31, 2021 - 8:33am

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August 31, 2021 - 8:30am

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To protect the health and safety of residents, customers and employees, beginning September 1 masks are required when traveling on Saskatoon Transit and when accessing indoor City-operated facilities and services. City Council approved the action at its meeting Monday, August 30 as an added safety measure to address the increasing spread of COVID-19 in our community. 

 

“Masks make a difference,” says Pamela Goulden-McLeod, Director, Saskatoon’s Emergency Management Organization. “As we approach the busy fall and the back-to-school activities season, it is important that we rally together to help support our health-care system. We need to do all we can to protect those who cannot be vaccinated such as children under age 12 and anyone with a health condition where vaccination is not an option.”

 

Given the current situation of COVID-19 and prevalence of the Delta variant in Saskatoon, the Saskatchewan Health Authority recommends masking indoors in public places, regardless of vaccination status. By wearing a mask indoors, we can continue to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community and protect the health of our family, friends and neighbours. 

 

“Fall is a time of increased bus ridership and a popular time for participating in programs and activities in our leisure facilities,” says Goulden-McLeod. “We’ve looked at how we can safely meet the demand for our programs and services. Requiring the use of masks is an important step to protect the health and safety of our customers and staff.”

 

The City will focus on educating and informing the public about the required use of masks on Saskatoon Transit and in City-operated facilities as an added safety precaution, rather than enforcement. 

 

An additional report was shared for the information of City Council to provide an overview of the enhanced health and safety measures being reintroduced for City staff. With the lifting of the Government of Saskatchewan Public Health Orders and the rapid and uncontrolled rise of COVID-19 cases in the Saskatoon region, the City has determined that it must take a more assertive approach to staff safety than it has in the past. 

 

The new approach includes the introduction of regular mandatory COVID-19 rapid tests for all City staff who report to the workplace. Scheduled to start mid-September, mandatory testing of staff regardless of their vaccination status will provide a greater level of safety in the workplace. 

 

“Tests identify asymptomatic cases of COVID before they can enter the workplace, including in those who are fully vaccinated who are still able to catch and transmit the virus,” Goulden-McLeod says. “Rapid tests are also less intrusive and due to the way the process is designed, staff members are not required to share any personal health information with the City.”

 

City Council supported the mandatory testing for City staff and added that they would like Administration to explore the possibility of adjustments for fully vaccinated staff.

 

Also at its August 30 meeting, City Council requested that Administration explore and report back on the following items in the coming weeks:

  • The potential implementation of vaccine requirements for City staff only, in consultation with local health authorities; and 
  • Following the Government of Saskatchewan’s update on August 30, 2021 that “businesses, municipalities, venue and event organizers may request proof of vaccination to host and attend events or access their services,” to provide Council with advice on how this could apply to civic events, events in civic facilities and other relevant gatherings.

Any further impacts to City programs and services this fall resulting from enhanced health and safety measures will be shared with residents on the City’s website and social media channels. 

 

For the latest updates, visit saskatoon.ca/covid-19

City’s summer programming and attractions coming to a close

August 18, 2021 - 1:52pm

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August 18, 2021 - 1:45pm

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As the end of August approaches, the City’s summer programming and attractions will be wrapping up for the season.  The last days of operation will be:

  • Summer Youth Centres - Thursday, August 19. Closing times vary per site, visit saskatoon.ca/youthcentres for details.
  • Travelling Skateboard and Sports Program - Thursday, August 19.  
  • Summer Playground Programs & Paddling Pools - Programs at spray pad locations next schools will be staffed until Friday August 20, at 4:30 p.m.  All other summer play programs and paddling pools will close on Thursday, August 26. Last day for weekend programming is Sunday, August 22 at 5:00 p.m.  Closing times for each site vary. Visit saskatoon.ca/play for closing times.
  • George Ward Outdoor Pool - Friday, August 20
  • Mayfair Outdoor Pool - Tuesday, August 24
  • Lathey Outdoor Pool - Friday, August 27
  • Riversdale Outdoor Pool - Saturday, August 28
  • Spray Pads - Monday, September 6
  • Nutrien Playland at Kinsmen Park - Monday, September 6

Civic Services & Holiday Hours for Saskatchewan Day, Monday, August 2.

July 29, 2021 - 5:15pm

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July 29, 2021 - 5:15pm

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The City of Saskatoon will have a number of adjusted civic services and altered holiday hours over the holiday weekend. Wondering what’s open or closed? See full details on the City’s website.

Saskatoon Transit celebrates low floor Access Transit buses

July 29, 2021 - 3:26pm

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July 29, 2021 - 3:30pm

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Today, Saskatoon Transit celebrates a milestone on its journey towards providing more accessible options for customers with reduced mobility, providing everyone the freedom and independence to travel safely throughout the city. 

 

As part of regular transit funding, in part by the Provincial Transit Assistance for People with Disabilities (TAPD) program, Access Transit purchased two low-floor buses. These new buses allow those with reduced mobility the freedom and independence of using a ramp versus a lift or stairs to enter and exit the bus. 

 

These buses feature a ramp and an innovative INQLINE system to assist operators in boarding passengers safely. The low floor design removes the need to use a lift or stairs to gain access to the bus, creating an improved customer experience.  

 

“I’m very proud that Access Transit has incorporated low floor buses into the fleet. We are excited to see how these new vehicles will improve accessibility for our passengers,” says Jim McDonald, Director of Saskatoon Transit. 

 

The addition of these buses allows Saskatoon Transit to bridge the gap between Access Transit and fixed-route transit using a “Family of Services” approach. Access Transit customers now have the option of using a ramp to enter and exit Access Transit buses allowing them to build the confidence to perhaps add the flexibility and spontaneity of fixed-route or On-Demand transit to their transportation options. The City encourages Access Transit customers to use fixed-route services as a supplement to Access Transit when it is convenient for them and when conditions allow.  

 

“We are continually working to improve our service. We want all of our customers to have safe and convenient transit options,” says Tracey Davis, Access Transit Manager. “Accessible transportation is a building block for a fair, inclusive, and equitable community. Providing as much flexibility in Saskatoon Transit’s fleet of buses improves that accessibility.” 

 

The Experience Transit Travel Training program is available for those who may be interested in adding fixed-route or On-Demand Transit to their transportation options. Experience Transit began as a pilot in mid-2017. The program is a personalized, 60-minute training to introduce people to transit and teach them how to use fixed-route transit services independently. Training is customized to fit an individual’s lifestyle, travel needs and abilities. The program includes: 

  • Trip planning 

  • Wayfinding and navigation 

  • Fares 

  • Boarding and exiting 

  • Accessible features 

  • Problem solving tips for when unexpected challenges occur 

 

To see a video of the low-floor bus ramp visit the City of Saskatoon’s YouTube channel 

Service, Savings & Sustainability: Impactful achievements despite challenging year

July 19, 2021 - 1:06pm

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July 19, 2021 - 1:00pm

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The City’s 2020 Report on Service, Savings and Sustainability (SSS Report) highlights how teams worked together, and apart, in 2020 to find new and improved ways to deliver services to residents during the pandemic while focusing on finding savings and reducing our impact on the environment.

“I am very proud of our City employees,” says Celene Anger, Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer. “Despite last year’s extraordinary circumstances, including a work-from-home directive impacting about 1,000 staff, they continued to find innovative ways to continue the safe delivery of essential core services to residents, maximize value for taxpayer dollars and minimize costs for the Corporation.”

“Even with the challenges of 2020, the City moved forward on several major projects including the approval of our Official Community Plan and nationally recognized Green Infrastructure Strategy,” Anger adds. “From making the switch to LED streetlights, adding GPS to our City fleet of vehicles, or the innovative ways found to administer the civic election during the pandemic - every efficiency gained and savings achieved are especially important within a year where COVID-19 greatly impacted our civic finances.”

 2020 SSS Report financial highlights include:

  • An estimated $850K in operational savings were identified through a combination of one-time overall and annual savings.
  • Saskatoon Land generated $43.7 million in sales and leasing revenues. Financial returns from Land Development operations stay in Saskatoon and are allocated for use in capital projects that would otherwise be funded through property taxes or borrowing.
  • Grant funding approvals totaled $69.8 million through a combination of federal and provincial programs.

The annual SSS Report provides highlights to City Council and the community at large on the City’s previous year’s accomplishments related to our Strategic Goal of Continuous Improvement through improved service, increased savings and found efficiencies, and successful sustainability initiatives across civic operations.

The 2020 Report on Service, Savings and Sustainability report will be presented to the Governance and Priorities Committee of City Council today, Monday July 19.

Update: City response to Saskatchewan Re-Opening Roadmap, Step 3

July 8, 2021 - 4:42pm

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July 8, 2021 - 4:45pm

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With over 71 percent of eligible residents over the age of 12 having received their first COVID-19 vaccination, and 49 percent eligible residents over the age of 12 being fully vaccinated, the Government of Saskatchewan announced the full implementation of Step 3 of the Re-Opening Roadmap will occur on Sunday, July 11th.

This means that all Provincial Public Health Orders will be removed, including the province-wide mandatory mask order in public and the removal of limits on events and gathering sizes.

“The lifting of Public Health Orders is an exciting time in our City. In the next few weeks there will be many adjustments and I encourage residents to continue to be patient and kind with each other and City staff as we all move forward together again," says Pamela Goulden-McLeod, Director of Emergency Management Organization.

The City’s approach to recovery will be phased and methodical. Important work continues within many City departments as there are many programs and services that are being reviewed prior to full resumption.

“COVID-19 created many challenges for our staff and the residents of Saskatoon. Thank you to our staff and our residents for all their work since March 2020 to help keep our community safe. We appreciate the patience and kindness residents have shown when accessing City services.”

The City will follow the direction of the Provincial Government and the Re-Opening Roadmap. As of July 11th, we will:

  • Remove the requirement to wear masks
  • Remove the requirement to physically distance
  • Continue to use barriers
  • Continue the current increased cleaning

Staff, facility visitors and patrons are welcome to continue to wear masks if they choose and physically distance where possible.

Return of Staff to the Workplace

As noted last month, the City is preparing to return roughly 30% of its staff – who have been working at home since the onset of the pandemic – back to the workplace by September 1.

Some City teams have already determined there is still a requirement for masks or physical distancing for some tasks or meetings, including those who work in critical services, or for those who enter residences and other businesses.

Additional measures may be re-introduced to protect staff from the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace. Department Directors will work with City Health and Safety staff to complete assessments as needed.

Until Sunday, July 11, when visiting an indoor civic facility such as a Leisure Centre, City Hall, Transit Customer Service, and while riding a Saskatoon Transit bus, protocols must still be followed by all staff and customers including those who have received a COVID-19 vaccination. This includes wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance.

Throughout the summer, any remaining outdoor and facility signage indicating mask wearing and/or physical distancing will be addressed by City crews. 

Saskatoon Transit 

Physical distancing will no longer be promoted at shelters or on the bus. All transit vehicles will operate at full standing capacity.

Operators and customers will not be required to wear a mask when operating or riding the bus nor will they be required in the Transit Customer Service Centre. Masks will be optional for both customers and operators.

Operators will be encouraged to continue to use the vinyl barriers for continued safety; however, they will not be required.

The health and safety of employees and customers remain a number one priority and enhanced cleaning protocols will continue, including the fogging of buses each night.

City Hall 

The Payment Centre, Customer Service & Collections counters located in the lobby of City Hall continue to be open for in-person transactions. Plexiglass shields will remain in place at Corporate Revenue Customer Service wickets.

Additional customer services previously available on other floors of City Hall may be available from the lobby starting September 1. Access to the remainder of City Hall will be reviewed along with cafeteria services on the fourth floor. 

Residents and customers are still encouraged to continue to use convenient online services.  

Announced earlier, City Council meetings will resume in Chambers this September. Watch for more details on upcoming in-person meetings as they are announced.

Leisure Facilities & Programs

Leisure Centres and seasonal facilities and attractions will be preparing to increase regular programming in the Fall. Details will be available on the City’s website, social media channels, and in the seasonal Leisure Guide. The Leisure Guide will be available starting Friday, August 6 on saskatoon.ca/leisureguide or at any leisure facility, library or over 120 retail locations where the StarPhoenix is sold.

Specific information regarding upcoming swimming lessons and other registered programming over the summer will be shared with registrants over the next week.

Drop-in program capacity will increase starting Sunday, July 11.

Saskatoon Forestry Farm & Zoo

Most areas of the zoo will be open without restrictions and the one-way path will be removed. The Meerkat display is now open; however, the Children's Zoo will remain closed at this time.  The Affinity Learning Centre is closed for construction.

Public Pathways & Pedestrian Crosswalks

Pedestrian bridge crossings, walkways, overpasses and underpasses will return to two-way traffic and the temporary signs will be removed over the next few weeks. 

At traffic signals, the signs advising pedestrians they don't need to push the buttons to receive walk signals will be removed over the next few weeks.

Waste & Recycling

Plastic/acrylic COVID-19 barriers being used in various business and public spaces are not accepted in the City's recycling program. While this material does fall under #7 plastics, it is not marketable; therefore it is considered garbage. Flexible plastic sheets or screens are also considered garbage.

If you choose to remove your barriers, anything larger than 2 ft x 2 ft must be taken to the landfill or reused for alternative purposes. Items placed outside of carts or bins will not be collected and are considered illegal dumping with fines starting at $500.

Plexiglas barriers can be donated to Prairie Harm Reduction: operations@prairiehr.ca; or International Women of Saskatoon: operations.systems@iwssaskatoon.org.

Facemasks, gloves, and other PPE material are also not accepted in the recycling and should be safely and securely discarded in the garbage.

Impound Lot

As of July 11, normal hours of operation at the impound lot will resume, which are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m Monday to Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Members of the public may drop in at any time during these hours of operation; appointments will no longer be required.

Public Engagement

In-person forms of public engagement, such as meetings and open houses, will be restored over the course of the year. Efforts will be made for in-person engagements to feel safe and comfortable for both attendees and staff. Virtual forms of engagement, such as online public surveys and online meetings, will continue to be offered to accommodate those who prefer providing their input this way. Currently scheduled virtual engagements will continue as planned.

City of Saskatoon Bylaw Court

The City of Saskatoon Bylaw Docket Court will be re-opening on Wednesday, July 14, 2021. Confirm your new FIRST APPEARANCE adjourned date here.

Visit saskatoon.ca/bylaws for more information.

Watch for more information and announcements regarding programs and services at saskatoon.ca.

Civic Services & Holiday Hours Thursday, July 1

June 28, 2021 - 6:35pm

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June 28, 2021 - 6:30pm

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The City of Saskatoon will have a number of adjusted civic services and altered holiday hours over the July 1, statutory holiday. Wondering what’s open or closed. See full details on the City’s website.

Please visit saskatoon.ca/covid-19 for timely updates from the City of Saskatoon on everything you need to know to stay safe.

Hot Weather Alert 3A activated

June 28, 2021 - 11:49am

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June 28, 2021 - 11:45am

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In response to the high temperature and humidity this week, the Emergency Management Organization (EMO) has activated the Saskatoon Heat Response Strategy to support residents in Saskatoon, especially those vulnerable to the heat.

EMO is a member of the Heat Response Committee established by the Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP). A variety of community partners rally to provide support to individuals and families experiencing homelessness through the heat response strategy. A Hot Weather Alert Level 3A (Heat Warning) is issued by SHIP when temperatures reach 32°C or greater.

Individuals and families experiencing homelessness can visit any of the designated cool-down locations throughout the city. Partners in the Saskatoon Heath Strategy are also distributing water to vulnerable residents.

EMO encourages residents to stay safe during this heat. Residents can help those most vulnerable to this extreme and prolonged heat by sharing the list of cool down locations, checking on family, friends and neighbours and by alerting emergency services if you see someone in distress due to the extreme heat.

Other things to consider during days of extreme heat: 

River Safety

Although the South Saskatchewan River may provide a tempting option to cool down on hot days, EMO reminds residents that the river is unpredictable and swimming in the river is prohibited. The river has many hazards including changing currents and an unstable bottom.

Pet Wellness

On warm summer days, it’s important to keep your pets safe and comfortable. Considerations include:

  • Ensuring your pet has plenty of fresh water to drink
  • Monitoring your pet for signs of heat stress such as rapid panting
  • Never leaving pets in parked cars for any amount of time
  • Offering your pet a means to cool down such as a wading pool or damp towel

For more information on how to keep your pet safe this summer, contact the SPCA or your local veterinarian.

Working Safe

As the humidex rises, those who work outdoors are encouraged to take necessary actions including:

  • Drink extra water
  • Increase breaks out of the sun
  • Modify work duties to prevent heat illness

For safety tips and guidelines for employees working in hot conditions, visit the Government of Saskatchewan’s Working Outdoors page.

Transit Safe Bus Program

As always, Saskatoon Transit offers the Safe Bus Program designed to assist anyone, of any age, that needs immediate shelter or needs to contact emergency services. If you need help, simply and safely flag down a bus or go to a parked bus. Transit operators can contact emergency services directly through the on-bus radio system and will give the person in need a safe place to wait.

Smart Yard and Garden Watering

During heat waves, there is increased water usage. The City encourages residents to be water wise by watering your lawn and trees early in the morning and skip windy days to minimize evaporation. Smart watering helps the environment and can save you money during hot summer months. Follow these quick lawn care tips to be more efficient with your water and learn more ways to be water wise.

In an emergency, call 911 immediately.

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