Possible shutdown for city buses after 9pm this Saturday

http://www.thestarphoenix.com/business/City+Saskatoon+issues+lockout+notice+transit+union/10215460/story.html

Saskatoon Transit is poised to shut down Saturday night unless the city and transit union reach an agreement about wages and pension plans in the next 48 hours.

The City of Saskatoon served a lockout notice to the Amalgamated Transit Union 615 (ATU) Thursday afternoon. Under provincial collective bargaining rules, the union has 48 hours to respond.

If an agreement can’t be reached, buses will not run after 9 p.m. on Saturday and transit users are advised to look into alternate transportation arrangements if this is the case. Access Transit — an essential service — will not be affected.

“This decision was difficult and hasn’t been taken lightly,” Marno McInnes, the city’s human resources director, told reporters Thursday.

McInnes said the city was “forced” to serve the lockout notice to protect its ailing pension plan, which he said poses a “significant financial risk” to the city. The general pension plan has a $6.7 million deficit and McInnes said the city will have to pay $90,000 a month to support the plan until the transit union agrees to change the terms of its members’ contributions.

“We are concerned for the future of the pension plan and it is a serious matter,” McInnes said.

The city previously offered the union a 10-per-cent wage increase over four years with changes to the defined benefits pension plan — a similar deal accepted by the city’s eight other unions. The transit union voted 91 per cent against that offer in August.

ATU Local 615 president Jim Yakubowski said the vote sends a “strong voice” that the union needs a better offer.

But McInnes suggested the city won’t budge.

“We’ve been fairly consistent, we have the best offer on the table available,” McInnes said. “Those things are not changing.”

Yakubowski said the union is prepared to negotiate over the next 48 hours, but said the city’s seeming reluctance to change its offer “will limit (the) chance of success of the bargaining process.”

City officials said bus passes will be refunded or extended if a lockout comes into effect Saturday. They did not know whether any changes will be made to accommodate increased traffic.

Within hours of the lockout notice being served, transit users were decrying the decision and expressing hope that a lockout would be prevented,

“It’s going to be horrible,” said Marie Isler, a retired Saskatoon resident who was waiting to take the bus from downtown Thursday afternoon. She said a lockout would prevent her from visiting friends who live across the city.

“I’d have to stay at home, or else walk the streets. I can’t stand staying alone in my apartment alone all the time,” she said.

Lance Harde, another Saskatoon resident waiting for a bus out of downtown Thursday, said a lockdown would devastate his ability to get around the city.

“If I want to go anywhere I take the bus. I’ll have to walk everywhere or take a cab, but that’s pretty damned expensive,” he said.

The lockout notice comes after almost three weeks of tension between the city and transit union. Relations between the two parties came to a head before the Labour Day weekend when a backlog of mechanical issues, caused in part by a shortage of mechanics, forced the city to suspend all high school special, university special and downtown direct bus routes.

Some regular buses have been filled to capacity, leaving some riders to wait up to half an hour for another bus

A.H. Browne – Saskatoon’s 1st Park Superintendent

A wonderful news article about A.H. Browne.

He was Saskatoon’s first park superintendent in 1911.

http://www.thestarphoenix.com/news/saskatoon/Park+boss+leaves+beautiful+indelible+mark+city/10203563/story.html

Joan Browne has a blue spruce in her yard that is taller than the University Bridge. There are five cedars and two chokecherries, a bur oak and a caragana. Her dad planted them as saplings and seedlings when he lived in this house in the 1950s.

Alfred Henry Browne — people called him A.H. — planted trees everywhere in the city. A native of London, England who trained as a gardener’s apprentice at the Downside Abbey in Somerset in his teens, he became Saskatoon’s first park superintendent in 1911. He ran the parks for 42 years, retiring to this two-storey house on a street in City Park in 1953. He died in 1957 at age 74.

“When I see parks I think of him,” said Joan, who is in her 90s. “I think about the happy life I had with him. He was a wonderful father and grandfather.”

Hilary Borton of Regina is one of the grandchildren. She and her husband Gary visited aunt Joan on a recent weekend. On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Hilary and Joan sat at the kitchen table near a window facing the back yard.

“I have a clear memory of him,” said Hilary, who grew up in Kindersley and Regina. Her mother Margaret was the oldest of A.H.’s three children, all daughters. “He’d throw pennies in the gravel, making a game of pick-up for us to play.

“He loved taking us to the Forestry Farm. He took me and (my brother) Greg to Waskesiu lots of times.”

A.H. kept a pond in his yard stocked with goldfish. He raised birds at home, including peacocks that looked as sharp as the wide-brimmed hat he wore all the time.

“I remember seeing all this,” Hilary said. “As a six-, seven-year-old kid this was really neat stuff.”

Hilary and Joan know A.H’s story.

They know he had only one sibling, a brother, Will, in England who used a wheelchair all his life.

They know A.H.’s daughter Dorothy died in Saskatoon when she was four.

They know A.H.’s wife Esther died a year later, only months after Joan was born.

They know how A.H. dealt with personal loss. He parked his problems. He smiled and looked ahead. For him, planting trees was a joy, not a job. His satisfaction; our reward.

“I would like to know what the city was like before he came here,” Joan said. “I know what it’s like after. He came to the prairies and made it beautiful.”

Said Hilary: “He had vision. You see what he did even if you don’t know who he was.”

A.H. is all around us in Saskatoon.

Kiwanis Park near the Bessborough Hotel was his idea. So were the trees and the picture postcard landscape on the other side of the river across from Kiwanis.

Remember the stream lagoon in Kinsmen Park? A.H. started it. The stream is gone, but Kinsmen Park goes on. Having a spread of natural green in the concrete and glass of downtown Saskatoon is a product of his fertile mind.

Trees are rooted in on Saskatchewan Crescent, their trunks almost as wide as a Chevy pick-up. The trees weren’t always there. Nature didn’t happen by chance. They are there because of A.H. and his colleague Wyndham Winkler Ashley. They planted elms and maples.

“People would knock on our door, always at supper time, and ask dad if he would come over and look at their yard, design a flower bed for them,” Joan said. “ ‘Maybe not tonight,’ he said, but he’d be there tomorrow. He made time for everybody.”

Said Hilary: “He’d go to small town fairs and judge plants. I like the story he told about a time he judged a bunch of cauliflowers. It makes me laugh. He said when he picked up a cauliflower the white came off. They had put baby powder on it to make it look really white.”

Civic leaders around Canada soon came calling. They asked A.H. to move to their city, to do there what he was doing here. He stayed in Saskatoon. Saskatoon is home.

Saskatoon is Joan’s place.

The family lived on 16th Street in her youth, a few blocks from A.H.’s greenhouse/office on Avenue H. Joan went to elementary school at King George and to high school at Bedford Road Collegiate. After graduating from school she worked for the Board of Grain Commissioners. She became a teacher, first in Perdue, then at Walter Murray Collegiate. She taught English and typing and bookkeeping.

She had a garden. She still does.

“I just love to dig around the yard,” Joan said. “I like trees — the height, the colour, the look, the shade.”

Hilary gardens, too.

“I like to get dirt under my fingernails,” Hilary said.

As the tree is bent, so is the twig inclined.

In the Mayfair neighbourhood in Saskatoon is a park a block long. The park has a spray pool and a hill. There are spruce trees and maple trees, basswood and lilac. Most of us call the place simply “the park.” A wooden sign at the corner of 37th Street and Avenue E says this is A.H. Browne Park, named after him.

Even if we see the name on the sign we don’t know the man. But his spirit is throughout Saskatoon. It’s in the trees.

“He’s like the sea,” Hilary said. “He lives on forever.”

Fun at the 2nd Annual Street Fair

IMG_00902nd Annual 33rd Street Fair!

What a fantastic day for Mayfair and for everyone who joined in the fun at the street fair!  Thank you to the organizers for making this special community event happen and for showing the great energy in the neighbourhood.

The 2nd annual street fair was brought to you by 33rd Street West’s very own Better Off Duds, Owl & Crate, and Back to Coffee Beans/S’toon Antiques and Brass Shop.

Just a few of the friendly faces from today!

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street fair 2014 road closure sign

2nd Annual Street Fair!

TODAY, SATURDAY the 13th from 10am – 4pm!

Brought to you by 33rd Street West’s very own Better Off Duds, Owl and Crate, and Back to Coffee Beans/S’toon Antiques and Brass Shop

Please join us for the 2nd Annual 33rd St. W. Street Fair! Saturday, September 13th from 10am-4pm.

Avenue D to Avenue F on 33rd Street West will be CLOSED TO TRAFFIC so we can celebrate in true neighbourhood style!

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We’re starting the day with a marching parade so bring your instruments & noisemakers and meet after 9:30am in the courtyard of the 33rd St Market (see map below with red star, on the north side of 33rd St. W. next to Reflexology by Jessica and Back to Coffee Beans) to learn a simple drum rhythm to play while we march up and down the street.

Buskers and vendors are invited to set up at no charge ~ please contact Nicola at Better Off Duds(306) 979-3837 to secure your spot. We’re encouraging sellers of handmade, recycled, vintage, and re-purposed items to join us. Bring your perennials for swapping! Bring your garden abundance for sharing in the spirit of Food is Free: http://foodisfreeproject.org/

We’ll have Spring Roll Restaurant rockin’ some specials, Tempest’s Gourmet Grub set up at the 33rd St Market, and Pick-Nics Catering will be dishing up some deliciousness from 11:30-1:30! Come HUNGRY!

Find event information on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/288234838049008/

Come spend the day with us and enjoy a real neighbourhood party.

(In the unfortunate event of severe weather the event will be cancelled.)

Fall Registration for Community Programs

Fall Registration

Fall registration took place on Tuesday, September 9th at Henry Kelsey School from 7-9 pm.  If you were unable to attend  registration and would still like to sign up for an activity, please contact the Indoor Coordinator at HBPMKWindoor@gmail.com  Most classes start next week, so be sure to contact the coordinator right away.

We have a fantastic variety of programs available for fall 2014:

Co-ed floor hockey, family star lab (astronomy/star gazing for the family), beginner Japanese, crafts for kids, gentle yoga, sports and games for kids, youth soccer, kinder soccer, girls-on-the-move, and cooking with Tupperware.

List of programs here:    http://hudsonbayparkmayfairkelsey.org/programs/indoor/

Cost-as-a-barrier-assistance is available if needed, just ask one of the community association volunteers for more information on registration night.

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NEW Community Fall Program!   FAMILY STAR LAB

* Register with the community association right away to book your spot *

 Family Stargazing Course scheduled for:

Mondays from Nov. 3 – Dec. 6

Ages 8+ at St. Edwards School Gym from 7:30-8:30pm, $35 .

Have you ever been at the lake on a clear, moonless night, gazed up at the starry night sky and wished you knew more? Then the course entitled Stargazing for the Whole Family may be for you. The course consists of 3-4 digitally illustrated presentations /activities. Each learning session is followed by viewing through the instructor’s 10 inch reflecting telescope, weather permitting. Course participants are usually able to see one or two of the following – the moon, Jupiter and its four largest moons, and the rings of Saturn. reflecting telescope, weather permitting.

The program is designed for parents with one or more of their children. The course is given in clear and cloudy weather.

The four session course outline consists of short talks and related group activities on these topics:
• Introduction to Stars and Stargazing
• The Sun and Planets
• Identifying Constellations
• Meteors, Meteorites and Aurora Borealis

If it is clear, each presentation including telescope viewing lasts approximately 80 minutes.

Also here is a brief biography of myself as the instructor:

Mr. Ron Waldron is a semi-retired elementary school educator and has been an amateur astronomer for over 45 years! His knowledge of the night sky comes from his extensive personal observing sessions over the years but also from his 30 years of teaching elementary school students inside the public school system’s STARLAB portable planetarium. He is an active member of the Saskatoon Centre, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. As proprietor of Living Skies Astronomy, Ron dedicates himself to sharing the wonder of the night sky with the general public. His website can be found at http://rmwaldron.shawwebspace.ca/

A Great Day for the Community BBQ and AGM

Thank you to everyone who helped make our community BBQ and Annual General Meeting (AGM) a fun day for all!

It was so nice to see new faces along with familiar ones at the BBQ/AGM today.  We could not have asked for better weather!  Thank you so much to the fantastic youth group for setting up the soccer cage, and to Deanna and Jasmine with the giant Jenga game and other fun stuff from Mayfair Library.  Also thanks to Evan for taking care of the bouncy castle, and Elden for all your help at the BBQ with Bob.

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We also want to give a warm welcome to newcomers Tara, Eric, Rachelle, Raelene, and Diane.  They have volunteered to help with the community newsletter, soccer, the secretary position, and in a member-at-large capacity.  Along with new additions to the community association, member Anna Cole has moved up to President, Janet Jackson is Rink Coordinator, and Robert Rudachyk and Dave Newton have moved to a Member at Large position.  We’re happy that our other members are staying with us for another year, and you can read the list of volunteers here: http://hudsonbayparkmayfairkelsey.org/executive/

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We still need a volunteer for Website Coordinator (simply keep this community website updated with current community-related news), so please contact us if you can help:  http://hudsonbayparkmayfairkelsey.org/executive/descriptions/

We’re looking forward to a new year, with the first community association meeting being held on Wednesday, September 24th at 7pm, Ecole Henry Kelsey (in the staff room) at 16 Valens Drive.  Open to any residents in the Hudson Bay Park, Mayfair and Kelsey-Woodlawn neighbourhoods.

Please join us at one of our monthly meetings, and contact us any time if you’d like more information on community programs and events, as well as community volunteer opportunities in your neighbourhood.

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Kids Flag Football

It’s that time of the year again! Fall flag football season is just around
the corner and we are contacting you to help get your community involved!
Our flag football league is for boys and girls in grades 1-8. We have all
girls teams, and mixed teams. As an added bonus the first 500 kids
registered will be entered to win a pair of Saskatchewan Roughriders
tickets to the September 21st game against the Ottawa Redblacks. The
season starts September 6th and will conclude with a year-end Jamboree on
October 18th.  The cost is $75 per child. This year we at SMF will handle
all registrations and will disperse all teams. For more information and
registration, please visit our website!

http://saskatoonminorfootball.com/fall/index.php

Registration closes September 2nd!

Growing Forward! Shaping Saskatoon

PSA – Public Service Announcement from the City of Saskatoon

GROWING FORWARD! SHAPING SASKATOON releases two Growth Plan reports.

The City of Saskatoon’s (City) Growing Forward! Shaping Saskatoon project is pleased to present two reports for information to City Council’s Planning and Operations Committee on June 17, 2014, which outline work-to-date on the City’s Growth Plan to Half a Million (Growth Plan).

The first report is the Growth Plan Summary Report #1: Taking Stock & Visioning. This report outlines work that Saskatoon has done to date to promote growth and development, identifies and explains key areas that will need to be addressed in the Growth Plan, and sets the stage for public discussion about detailed Growth Plan options in October 2014.

A summer information series called “Spotlight On” will be launched in the coming weeks and will highlight information contained in the summary report in the areas of core bridges, transit, rapid transit, and growth near major corridors.

The second report is the Winter 2014 Engagement Summary. This report shares what was heard during the Growing Forward! Shaping Saskatoon public engagement from February 25 to March 21, 2014.

Both reports are available on the project website at http://www.growingfwd.ca and represent the completion of Phase 2 of the five-phase Growth Plan development process.

Growing Forward! Shaping Saskatoon is a public planning initiative that is designed to plan for our future and navigate challenges associated with rapid population growth. A major outcome of Growing Forward! Shaping Saskatoon will be the Growth Plan, which will help guide civic infrastructure investments as Saskatoon grows to half a million people over the next 30 to 40 years.

Public consultation will be ongoing throughout the Growing Forward! Shaping Saskatoon process. Watch for more public engagement opportunities coming in October 2014. Those interested can also sign up for project update notifications at http://www.growingfwd.ca.