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Ecological Footprint

Ecological Footprint

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   Status: Needs Improvement 

Why is it important? 

The Ecological Footprint is a tool that compares the total resources consumed by a community, to the amount of land it would take to support that consumption.

The Ecological Footprint is a success indicator in the City’s Strategic Plan .

Where are we now?

In 2014, Saskatoon’s Ecological Footprint was 78 times larger than the city’s total land area. The average ecological footprint per resident was 7.38 global hectares, which is 5% higher than Canada's 2010 national average of 7.01 global hectares per capita.

mapping

Source: City of Saskatoon Ecological Footprint Report 2014, prepared for the City of Saskatoon by Anielski Management Inc., December 2015.

What are we doing?

Strategic Plan 

The City of Saskatoon has environmental, economic, social and cultural objectives and is tracking progress  towards targets

Continuous Improvement 

The City is committed to growing in sustainable ways while improving services and increasing savings. The latest achievements are published in Saskatoon Strides 2015: Our Report on Service, Savings and Sustainability. Service, Savings and Sustainability

Environmental Policy 

The Ciyt updated its Environmental Policy in 2015. All City employees and contractors are encouraged and expected to be environmentally responsible. As well, the City has the responsibility to facilitate the community at large, moving towards sustainability through providing programs and services.

Supporting Community Action

The City has led and partnered on a number of programs to encourage environmental action in the community, including: The Environmental Cash Grant, Student Action for a Sustainable Future, Green Stem, and the Living Green Expo

What can you do?

Get involved in your city’s future by joining a board or committee, sharing your ideas on Shaping Saskatoon, or participating in your neighbourhood Community Association

Choose products and services that are local, eco-certified or fair trade to reduce your own ecological footprint.

Help green your school or workplace by starting a green team that finds ways to improve environmental performance and save money. 

   Did You Know?

One-half of Saskatoon's Ecological Footprint is from the consumption of good and services (27%) and government services (23%).

 

 

New Development Investment

New Development Investment

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   Status: Stable

Why is it important? 

Saskatoon is growing. The location of new development and the amount that is being invested shows how the City’s planning policies are being put into action. A sustainable community experiences growth that is balanced; with healthy levels of new investment in the city centre and strategic infill areas, within established neighbourhoods, and in new neighbourhoods that are designed to conserve natural and agricultural lands, conserve water and energy, and reduce the cost of building new infrastructure like roads, water and sewer lines.

The City’s Strategic Goals of Environmental Leadership and Sustainable Growth impact how we grow along with determining how successful we are in achieving energy efficiency, responsible land use, orderly and sustainable growth, and balanced land use.

 

Where are we now?

Investment in new development is spread throughout the city, with the greatest concentrations in the downtown and new Greenfield communities. In 2015, there were 4,315 building permits with a total value of $1,018,883,000. $3,252,000 of this value was for demolition permits. The total value of permits is higher in the red areas and the dark blue area has no values.

heatmaps

Source: City of Saskatoon - Planning & Development 

What are we doing?
 

Growth Plan to Half a Million 

The City has completed a plan that will guide future infrastructure investment so that residents will have more choices for how they live and move around as Saskatoon grows over the next 30 to 40 years.

 

Neighbourhood Level Infill Strategy

Neighbourhood infill describes new homes that are built in existing neighbourhoods. The Neighbourhood Level Infill Strategy makes sure that, as these new homes are built, the characteristics of neighbourhoods are maintained.

 

Garden and Garage Suite Regulations   

As part of the Neighbourhood Level Infill Development Strategy, regulations have been developed for small stand-alone dwelling units that can be constructed on their own or in combination with a detached garage.

 

River Landing 

Construction of new housing is underway by the riverfront edge of downtown and will continue as the City sells additional parcels of land.

 

New Neighbourhood Development

New neighbourhoods including Evergreen and Aspen Ridge  are designed to be less vehicle dependent, align with the sun’s rays to be ready for solar power, and include medium-density, mixed-use development.

What can you do?
 

As the Growth Plan is implemented, there will continue to be communications and engagement. Visit http://www.growingfwd.ca/ to subscribe for updates.

 

Use Shaping Saskatoon, Saskatoon’s online engagement tool, to learn about current projects and join discussions on the future of our City.

 

Consider the downtown and strategic growth areas when making your next property investment decision.

   Did You Know?

Saskatoon's population estimate for July 2015 was 258,068 - an increase of 8.2% since 2012. 

 

Protected Lands

protected Land

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   Status: Stable

Why is it important? 
 

The natural, undeveloped areas within our city support a diversity of plants and wildlife, perform “ecological functions” such as reducing and filtering storm water, storing greenhouse gases, removing harmful pollutants from the air, and contribute to our overall well-being and health.

 

Protected lands are an important part of our natural areas network and help meet the long-term Environmental Leadership strategy in the Strategic Plan to improve access to ecological systems.

Where are we now?

The amount of protected lands in the Meewasin Valley Authority  jurisdiction has remained unchanged between 2008 and 2015. 

 
Data Table
Protected Lands
  2003 2008 2014 2015
Hectares of Land in Meewasin Valley Authority Jurisdiction 6051 6278 6278 6278

Source: Meewasin Valley Authority.

What are we doing?

 

Natural Area Screening

For suburban development areas the City prepares Sector Plans , which includes a screening study to identify areas with ecological or natural heritage significance. The study is used to reduce the environmental impact of the development’s design and could result in designating land as a Municipal Reserve, an Environmental Reserve or a Meewasin Valley Conservation Area

 

Northeast Swale  

Saskatoon’s Northeast Swale is an ancient river channel and one of the largest pieces of unbroken natural habitat in the Saskatoon region. The City has collaborated with Meewasin Valley Authority  to develop a plan to protect this sensitive natural area within the urban context. 

 

Wetland Policy 

Saskatoon is located in the Prairie Pothole region and wetlands are found within the city and its surroundings. The City has adopted a policy  so that wetlands are inventoried and assessed and that minimizes the impact of development.

 

Natural Areas  

The City has started work on a Natural Area Strategy that will develop an overall vision for natural areas along with a strategy, policy and procedures to conserve and integrate natural areas into urban development. 

What can you do?
Enjoy and support the riverside trails, conservation areas, and programs offered by Meewasin Valley Authority.
 
Help expand the natural areas in your neighbourhood by including native plants in your home garden.
 
Become a Master Naturalist. The Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan and the City of Saskatoon have partnered to provide training to volunteers, to work on conservation projects.
 
Look for volunteer opportunities that support and enhance our natural environment.  
 

   Did You Know?

The City of Saskatoon has a Naturalization Program for parks that creates valuable habitat in neighbourhoods and reduces costs of irrigation, mowing or fertilizers. The parks with natural areas include Gabriel Dumont Park, Lakewood, Hyde and Donna Birkmaier Parks.

 

Bird Population Count

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Courtesy: Saskatoon Nature Society
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   Status: Stable

Why is it important? 

The animals and plants that live within our city are impacted by the decisions we make on how we develop and manage natural and urban areas of our city.  Birds play an important role in our urban ecosystem and monitoring their numbers over time can help us to understand the impact we are having on our environment.

Where are we now?

Three bird species have been identified to monitor for changes over time.  The number of Western Meadowlarks counted have decreased over time, while both the Merlin and Peregrine Falcon counts have improved.

Meadowlark

 

 

Merlin

 

 

Peregrin

 

 

Source: Saskatoon Nature Society, September 2015 Bird Count Report and May 2016 Bird Count Report.

What are we doing?

 

Wildlife Habitat

The City of Saskatoon maintains an urban forest with over 105,000 trees located on boulevards, centre medians and parks, providing habitat for wildlife including birds.  Grasslands and wetlands also provide important areas of habitat for wildlife within the city.

The Meewasin Valley Authority manages over 2,500 hectares of native grasslands and green spaces within Saskatoon city limits, providing critical habitat for grassland birds.

There are also over 1,000 wetlands within the city, providing critical habitat for birds and various other wildlife.  The Wetland Policy guides land use and development decisions related to wetland and riparian areas in a manner that is sensitive to the ecological integrity of these areas.

Wildlife Management

The City of Saskatoon offers wildlife services primarily to trapped, injured and diseased animals as well as contact information for other organizations that can provide assistance.

Natural Area Screening

As part of developing Sector Plans for Suburban Development Areas and Industrial Growth Areas, Natural Area Screening Studies are completed and include an assessment of wildlife and habitat to be considered during future development.

What can you do?

Home owners in new or established neighbourhoods and business owners located in industrial neighbourhoods can request a tree for the City-owned portion of their front and/or side yard.

Volunteer with local groups that are monitoring species and protecting habitat, such as the Saskatoon Nature Society and Meewasin Valley Authority.

Make your property more bird friendly by planting native plants and eliminating the use of pesticides.

Install dark sky compliant light fixtures on your property.  Studies have shown that artificial light at night has numerous negative effects on wildlife such as birds, amphibians, insects and mammals.

 

 

 

Community Gardens

Community Gardens

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   Status: Improving

Why is it important? 
 

Growing food in our neighbourhoods provides fresh, healthy food that has a lower environmental impact. Community gardens on public land provide opportunities to grow food for residents that do not otherwise have access to land suitable for gardening.

 

The number of community gardens is one of the success indicators in the Strategic Plan.

Where are we now?

The number of community gardens on city-owned land is increasing.

 

 

 
Data Table
Community Gardens
  2008 (baseline) 2012 2013 2014 2015
Number of Community Gardens on City of Saskatoon Land 3 13 14 19 23

 

 

Source: City of Saskatoon – Community Development 

What are we doing?
 

Allotment, Community and Vacant Lot Gardening 

There are three ways to access City-owned land for growing food. Residents can rent plots in allotment gardens, community volunteers can form a collective that organizes and maintains a community garden, and non-profit community organizations can apply to use vacant City-owned property to grow food. 

 

Healthy Yards Demonstration Garden 

The City has partnered with the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre and the University of Saskatchewan Master Gardeners to set up a garden located at the 900 block of 3rd Avenue North to demonstrate a range of healthy and sustainable gardening techniques. 

 

Saskatoon Food Council

The City is a member of the Saskatoon Food Council, a network of organizations and individuals whose work supports the food system in Saskatoon and the surrounding region. The Council collaborates on food initiatives, provides policy recommendations, and works with citizens of Saskatoon towards the creation of a healthy and sustainable food system.

 

Saskatoon City Council endorsed the 11 City-related recommendations from the Saskatoon Regional Food System Assessment and Action Plan in 2015, and adopted a Food Charter (in principle) in 2002.

 

Boulevard Gardens

Boulevard gardens can create beautiful and diverse streetscapes, add character to neighbourhoods, and increase feelings of community pride and safety. They also increase ecological diversity and create habitat for insects and birds.

 

Gardening on boulevards adjacent to your home is acceptable, providing you read the City of Saskatoon's Boulevard Gardening & Maintenance Guidelines and complete the Boulevard Garden Agreement.

 

What can you do?

Find your local community garden on the City’s webpage. 

 

If your neighbourhood doesn’t have a community garden, find out how to start a new garden on City land.

 

If a community garden isn’t right for you, learn about the other opportunities to grow food in your community, such as the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre’s Garden Patch or CHEP’s Backyard Gardening Program.

 

Before installaing a boulevard garden, please fill out the City of Saskatoon's Boulevard Garden Agreement. This information will be used to track the number of boulevard gardens that are enriching our city.

 

   Did You Know?

Community gardens  have been shown to increase neighbourhood property value, reduce crime rates, and reduce the cost of maintaining parkland.