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SPC on Environment, Utilities and Corporate Services Decisions in Brief

For immediate release: August 29, 2017 - 11:53am

August 15, 2017 Meeting

7.2.1 Absence Management and Disability Assistance Services Update [File No. CK. 4655-1 and CP. 4655-001]


*Following discussion on providing these services in-house, the Committee carried unanimously a recommendation to City Council to defer for one month a decision to give consideration on continuing the pilot program with Bridges Health and asked administration to report on how the City may internally provide this support to its employees.


* The City of Saskatoon (City) entered into a one-year pilot program with Bridges Health in accordance with the program policies and procedures documented in the Disability Assistance Program (DAP) manual and the Collective Agreement between the City and The Amalgamated Transit Union, Local No 615 (ATU) and between the City of Saskatoon and SCMMA. This pilot program involves Saskatoon Transit employees who are members of the ESA, SCMMA and ATU. The employee group consists of employees with illnesses/absences of 10 days or greater within a 12-month period, which is the current criteria of the City’s DAP. Illnesses/absences of 10 days or greater include:

· An employee is off 10 days in a row.

· An employee goes over 10 days in casual absences.

· An employee provides notice they will be of for more than 10 days.

7.2.2 Hydropower Project – Memorandum of Understanding with the Saskatoon Tribal Council [File No. CK. 2300-1 and SLP 2000- 10-6]


*The Committee carried unanimously a recommendation to City Council that the City Solicitor prepare a Memorandum of Understanding with the Saskatoon Tribal Council in accordance with the general terms set out in this report for the purpose of studying the financial feasibility of a hydropower project at the Saskatoon Weir.


*Pre-feasibility engineering and environmental baseline studies of several possible design concepts for a hydropower station at the Saskatoon weir were completed in 2009, and also considered a proposed pedestrian walkway and white water park feature. The studies concluded that the proposed development was technically feasible, and could be economically viable depending on the market value of the electricity produced. Any consideration for a white water park feature would require leadership interest from either a developer, private operator, or non-profit organization. A separate report is planned to be presented to the Governance & Priorities Committee for consideration this fall, and will discuss the water park in the context of a Master Plan for Sport, Culture, and Recreation facilities. Joint ownership between the City and STC will bolster all aspects of the project and benefit both parties.

7.2.5 Compost Sale Strategy [File No. CK. 7830-5 x1720-1 and PW 7832-2]


*The Committee carried unanimously a recommendation to City Council that
a pilot program for providing small quantities of compost to residents at no charge, be approved; and that a rate of $15 per cubic yard be approved for bulk purchases of materials from the compost depots, including finished compost, mulch, top soil and fire logs.


*On April 16, 2012, Administration reported to City Council that there was enough finished compost material to start providing material to the general public. On June 24, 2013, City Council approved the recommendations in the Composting Program Fees 2013 and 2014 report; specifically that finished compost be made available for sale to the general public at $5 per 20 litre bag. On May 20, 2014, City Council adopted bulk sale prices for compost and mulch as identified in the Composting Program Bulk Sales report.

7.2.6 Organics Opportunities [File No. CK 7830-1 and CP. 7838-010]


*The Committee carried unanimously a recommendation to City Council that Administration continue research and program development on an organics program for the Residential, Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional sectors.


*On May 23, 2017, City Council received a report outlining Waste Diversion Opportunities. Organics represents a significant portion of the waste stream and was outlined as one of the first steps toward meeting Waste Diversion Performance Targets. Organic material not only fills up the landfill, it produces methane when it decomposes, which is a potent greenhouse gas. In 2016, 2cg completed a characterization of the waste stream in Saskatoon. The study found that organics (leaves, grass, and food waste) represent 32% (over 78,000 tonnes) of landfilled waste in Saskatoon, the single biggest opportunity for diversion. Most cities across Canada have programs and policies that require residents and/or businesses to divert organics.

7.2.7 Waste Utility Design Options [File No. CK 7830-1 & CP. 7542- 006]


*The Committee carried unanimously a recommendation to City Council that the Administration continue to develop a program to expand the Waste Services Utility to include variable-pricing options; and engage citizens and stakeholders on variable-pricing options and report back in the first quarter of 2018 with a proposed design and timeline for implementation for a utility model.


*In January 2017, the Administration brought a report to the Standing Policy Committee on Environment, Utilities and Corporate Services highlighting the funding gap in the business model for civic waste services, and identifying barriers in meeting the performance targets for Environmental Leadership. In May 2017, City Council received the Waste Diversion Opportunities report identifying various tools and approaches to improving waste diversion in Saskatoon. The report addressed the financial performance and stability of civic waste services including alternative options for financing such as a utility fee. At a City Council meeting on June 26, 2017 a report was received on the benefits and implications of a waste utility. Administration was tasked with investigating a new business model for waste services that included waste as a utility, and Administration was asked to report on a potential design.

7.2.9 Storm Water Utility Business Plan

*The Committee carried unanimously a recommendation to City Council that the Storm Water Utility focus resources on maintenance and preservation of existing storm water assets; and that $3 million be maintained in the Storm Water Utility’s capital reserve to protect strategic public infrastructure from damage caused by riverbank slumping and other emergency storm water repairs; that the Equivalent Runoff Unit used for Storm Water Management charges be increased by $13.50 annually from 2019-2022, and utilized for projects to maintain and preserve storm water infrastructure; and that the temporary Flood Protection Program be extended and phased out by $13.50 annual from 2019-2022. The Committee also recommended to City Council that the Administration report prior to 2018 budget consideration on the impact of increase to the ERU to generate funds for flood mitigation; that the City identify this situation as a further request for federal funding; and the Administration report on funding and infrastructure strategy to systematically deal with the top risk priority areas.


*In 2014, 30 known flood sites were modelled and prioritized for flood risk based on set criteria (i.e. risk of water reaching within three meters of buildings, number of properties impacted, and roadway classification). Various remediation options to reduce flood risk were assessed for three modelled areas:

1. Ruth Street/Cairns Avenue

2. First Street/Dufferin Avenue

3. Cascade Street/Dufferin Avenue

The cost of the preferred option is estimated to be $18.9 million (2017 dollars).

At its meeting held on April 25, 2016, City Council resolved that the Administration develop a comprehensive Storm Water Utility Business Plan, including long term capital funding, and that the Administration explore alternative funding sources for Riverbank stabilization, and that the Administration concurrently meet with affected residents to provide an update and further discuss options.