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Let’s Talk Trends: Saskatoon City Council hosting public discussion to plan for City’s future

For immediate release: January 11, 2017 - 9:00am

Saskatoon City Council is opening up its Strategic Planning process to the public with a discussion on global trends facing the City. Let's Talk is a series of engagement opportunities between City Council and the public as part of this planning process. Kicking off the series is a conversation on trends exploring how Saskatoon will be shaped into the future. 

“We live in a changing world, and cities are at the forefront of navigating these changes,” says Mayor Charlie Clark. “From the global economy and resources, to climate change, income inequality, and technology, trends in these areas all impact how the City is able to provide a quality of life to its citizens.”

This new City Council is identifying the priorities it wants to achieve over the next four years. These priorities also need to be consistent with longer term plans that address complex trends affecting Saskatoon over the next 20 years.
To assist with this assessment, Karen Thoreson, President of the Alliance for Innovation, a network of innovative cities and counties across the United States, is being brought in. The Alliance’s new research, “The Next Big Things: The Next 20 Years in Local Government” highlights 44 trends that could impact communities in the next generation. They are categorized in the areas of Resource, Technology, Demographic, and Governance Trends.

“Many communities are deeply affected by change and disruption, often in a negative way. These 44 trends and the tools in The Next Big Things will help cities be prepared and proactive, whatever the future brings,” says Thoreson.

Thoreson will be working with staff and City Council to identify what trends are most likely to have a major impact on the City of Saskatoon, as part of the City’s strategic planning process for both the next four years as well as updating the longer-term 2013 – 2023 Strategic Plan. She says this is the first time a City Council and members of the public have been involved in this type of planning process with her, as it is usually only done by city administration.

The public is invited to the evening session of City Council’s Governance and Priorities Committee meeting where Thoreson will be presenting alongside 11 local experts offering local perspectives on key trends. The presentations are from 6:00 pm until 8:30 pm and will be followed by informal conversations in the City Hall lobby.  Parking is available at the back of City Hall on 4th Avenue North.

Local presenters include:

  • Innovation and Partnerships - Felix Thomas, Tribal Chief of Saskatoon Tribal Council and Peter Stoicheff, President of University of Saskatchewan
  • Crime and Safety – Craig Nyirfa, President of Birchwood Consulting Inc., former Executive Director of the Centre of Responsibility (HUB/COR) and member of the Saskatoon Police Service.
  • Community Well-being – CeCe Baptiste, Vice-Chair, United Way of Saskatoon and Area
  • Inclusion and Diversity – April Sora, Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant
  • Economic Development – Stephanie Yong, Director at the Wilson Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence
  • Sustainable Growth and Planning – Ryan Walker, U of S professor of urban planning
  • Downtown Development - Tom McClocklin, President and Managing Director, Saskatchewan, Colliers International
  • Transportation – Carl Kuhnke, Managing Director, Saskatchewan Centre of Excellence For Transportation and Infrastructure
  • Environmental Sustainability – Kathleen Aitkens and David McGrane, members of Saskatoon Environmental Advisory Committee

“Saskatoon citizens care about their community and want to help shape its future,” says Mayor Clark. “It is important to engage them in these conversations about what will Saskatoon look like in four years from now, to seven generations from now.”

More information on Let’s Talk Trends can be found at