SASKATOOON, SASK. – The City of Saskatoon has approved motions to support its application to the federal Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) and will provide a formal response confirming the amendments to the federal government.
“This is a generational shift in what housing looks like. More people will have access to stable and affordable housing, with walkable services and access to public transit and active transportation opportunities,” City of Saskatoon director of planning and development Lesley Anderson said in a statement. “The city had already started working on accommodating more people living in these areas years ago through its Corridor Planning Program, which is looking at how to make Saskatoon’s major transportation corridors into livable places. The HAF program is an extension of this, not a complete shift in the work we have already been doing.”
With this approval council has directed administration to propose a zoning bylaw amendment aligning with HAF requirements to allow up to four residential units on a property in a residential zoning district, as long as development standards and conditions such as the lot size, sewer and water infrastructure can accommodate it. Staff is to report back to a public hearing in the first quarter of 2024.
Another zoning bylaw amendment would permit four-storey multiple-unit development within 800 metres of the bus rapid transit system corridors, with appropriate development standards, including servicing capacity. Staff would report back to a public hearing in 2024’s second quarter.
Parking requirements would also be removed from areas within defined corridor areas with a report back to a public hearing in the first quarter of 2024.
The city is also moving to work with the University of Saskatchewan to increase density and create student housing opportunities in the College Quarter, as well as a report on options to protect neighbourhood character in time for a public hearing in the second quarter of 2024.
“Not just Saskatoon, but major cities across Canada, have been negotiating Housing Accelerator Fund applications with the federal government to help address housing affordability and access. Approval of our application could potentially provide tens of millions of dollars to increase the city’s housing supply, including affordable housing with a focus on the areas of Saskatoon near transit corridors,” Anderson said.
Following the federal government receiving the City of Saskatoon’s formal response, finalization of the contribution agreement and a formal public announcement will be planned, along with more detailed next steps including plans for public consultation, the release said.