Waste Water Treatment Plant – odor
The city has a multi-million dollar plan to address odor. There is an open house, which has just been confirmed for October 16. Please visit the calendar entry here. I will be sending it out to my email list. Residents living nearby should receive it in their mailbox. Please feel free to pass it on and spread the word. This is good news as we are finally starting to see this project move forward. It would be good to have many people in the community there to see the plan and ask questions.
Roads / Traffic
The biggest issues raised by our residents this year were road quality and traffic congestion. When I joined Council in 2010 the City spent $4.5 Million per year on roads. This is drastically lower per-capital than other major cities in Western Canada. This year we have spent $28 Million on road repair, plus more for sidewalks, lanes, and snow removal. We've done about three 3-4 more road repair this year than previous. Major roadwork in the north end included all of 51st Street, and parts of Millar, Adilman, Assiniboine, and part of Faithful. We also did several miles of repaving on our freeway system to get it in better condition. In the next few years we will also see major work on Warman Rd, Wanuskewin Rd, Silverwood Road and Whiteswan Drive. The goal is to start with the very busy roads that need repair… such as freeways and aterials… and eventually get to neighbourhood roads in front of your home. That may take some time, but we will get there. I am also pushing to increase the rate of repair to our sidewalks, as the state of sidewalks in Silverwood is pathetic. It is very expensive to replace sidewalks, and typically, the city has not budgeted much in that regard.
I do not want to wade into the muck of the transit situation, as I feel negotiation should be done at the table. Nor do I want to pit residents against one side or the other. I do, however, feel I owe the residents of Silverwood a rationale for the lockout. The city began negotiations with most of our unions last year. We signed contracts with 8 of our 9 unions (not including police) for a 10% wage increase over 4 years. Those 8 unions also agreed to minor pension plan changes that would strengthen and preserve their pension plan for decades to come, while not significantly affecting benefits. We could not come to agreement with transit on the same package. After 9 months of negotiations, talks broke down and they walked away from the table. I became convinced that the only viable way to avoid an all out transit strike in January/February, in the coldest weeks of the year, was to support a lockout now, in Sept/Oct when the weather is milder. I have 3 in my home who take transit daily, and I know the impact this is having. Our lives are turned upside down, and it is affecting those who are most vulnerable. However, despite the horrible impact it is having now, a strike in Jan/Feb would be a safety issue, putting lives in jeopardy, and I cannot allow that to happen. My hope is for a quick, negotiated solution before colder weather, so our employees can get back to work and our buses can get back on the road.
Another major issue raised by our residents is the speed of vehicle traffic in residential areas. Council has tasked the Administration to come up with traffic calming measures in our busier residential roads, such as Russell, Goerzen, Silverwood and Adilman. These are roads that I receive complaints about the most in our community. The city is purchasing more portable speed signs to notify people of their speed, which does have some temporary affect. However, they are looking at implementing more traffic calming in neighbourhoods to reduce vehicle speeds in residential areas. They have avoided adding speed bumps to our road network, but I think we need to reconsider that decision.
North Commuter Bridge
There was an announcement concerning the North Commuter Parkway Bridge. The fed gov't is chipping in $66 Million and the province is contributing $50 Million. The request for qualifications is closed, and we are short listing the teams interested in building this project. We've already done the engineering study on the river bottom. Once we have finalized the short list there will be a Request for Proposals, and the Award of a contract. We are hoping this project will be complete in 4 years, but we can't promise that as weather has a huge role in these things. This bridge will join Marquis Drive (by Coverall) to McOrmond Road and Central Ave on the other side of the river. It will help the morning/evening commute. Once complete, it could carry upwards of 35 000 cars per day, which will act as a relief valve and reduce congestion on Circle Dr N, Warman, Wanuskewin, Millar Rd and 51st Street. It should make things more pleasant in our area. We also have overpasses planned for Marquis and Idylwyld (Costco), and at Marquis and Hwy 16 (Sask Place). I'm hoping to see construction on those begin in the next 3-4 years, if possible. I'd like to see the Marquis/Idylwyld overpass done by the time the new bridge opens.
I also sat on a Committee with the province to confirm the design of the Perimeter Freeway. We have a commitment from the province to build a Perimeter Highway, but that project will likely take 10-15 years to complete... so the North Commuter Parkway will help in the meantime. We're doing all we can to help with traffic congestion in the north end.