Montgomery Place Community Association (MPCA)

Community Meeting  –  13 January 2016  –  St. David’s Trinity United Church


Thirty-one residents of Montgomery Place met to discuss two community questions: expenditures for a refurbishment of the community rink in Montgomery Park and pursuit of a 40 kph speed limit in Montgomery Place. The meeting was chaired by MPCA President – Barb Biddle. MPCA executive were introduced, along with neighbour and City Councillor Pat Lorje.

  1. Montgomery Park Rink Refurbishment

A Rink Committee, designed as a sub-committee of the Montgomery Place Community Association, was formed in the fall of 2015 to investigate the refurbishment of the community rink in Montgomery Park. The rink was built in 1996 by the MPCA and belongs to the Association. The intervening 20 years have resulted in significant wear-and-tear. Without remedial action soon, the rink will not be viable in a year or two. “We are using three times as much water to flood the ice because of the sloped and cracked surface,” reported Jim McAllister.

Contractors were consulted. The cost of digging out the asphalt versus resurfacing was investigated. Resurfacing was considerably less expensive. The estimated cost of resurfacing, replacing boards with pressure-treated lumber, replacing lights, new netting, paint and other necessary supplies is $28,000 including taxes and contingency.

The Association asked the community members in attendance for approval to spend up to $28,000 of MPCA invested funds, with the hope that much of this will be recovered through grants and donations. MPCA executive are investigating and submitting grant applications. The amount of grant money, of course, at this point is unknown. The City grant does not include asphalt. Sponsorship is being sought; at the meeting Wally Penner pledged $3000 from his own company and two others. Fundraising in the community is another avenue to explore.

That the community authorizes the spending of up to $25,000 for the refurbishment of the community-owned rink in Montgomery Park.
Moved by Irv Stevens   –   Seconded by Donna Dent
CARRIED unanimously.

Further discussion included the information and comments that:

  • The target for refurbishment is Spring-Summer 2016 if approval for expenditures is received.
  • The rink would be a four-season site with basketball nets and pickle ball courts for warm weather use.
  • The skating oval north of the rink is maintained by the City.
  • The rink will encourage kids to play outdoors.
  1. Speed Limit and Street Safety in Montgomery Place

Ironically, while the meeting was in progress, police attended an accident on Ortona Street.

Barb Biddle outlined examples from other places in Canada and around the world where speed limits had been reduced for pedestrian and vehicle safety. One sobering statistic from the New South Wales Government Centre for Road Safety cited a car travelling 40 kph, braking for a child 27 metres ahead, will stop in 26 metres. A car travelling 50 kph, seeing a child 27 metres ahead, will brake and stop in 35 metres and will still be travelling at 41 kph when the child is hit. Barb had other examples from Toronto, Edmonton, the province of Quebec, Ottawa and Calgary.

The MPCA has done its homework, yet City of Saskatoon engineers, one in particular, continue to say that they will not support a reduction of speed in Montgomery Place (Traffic Meeting, December 8, 2015 at St. Dominic School). The Traffic Report prepared by City Engineers is scheduled to go to the Transportation Committee this spring.

Barb asked the community how people attending wanted the MPCA to proceed. The door-to-door survey conducted in 2013 had a 64% return rate, with 86% of those in favour of a reduced speed limit to 40 kph.

After initially saying that the lowered speed limit would not be supported, the LAP planners have said (MPCA Meeting on January 12, 2016) that they will support the community request to lower the speed limit.

Conversation among residents went over things that have been said before, often:

  • What’s the downside for the City? Why are they so resistant to this request?
  • Is the City listening to us? Do they hear or care?
  • I thought it was loud and clear at the last meeting that we wanted the reduced speed limit.
  • I think the city knows what we want like the reduced speed zones and are trying to steer us off of it.
  • Some people will always speed, regardless of the posted speed.
  • There are more cars on our roads than there used to be and many drivers today seem to drive faster.
  • Particularly at night, drivers speed.
  • Speed traps are seldom, if ever, set up in the interior of Montgomery Place.
  • Many MP drivers now drive with consideration and slower than 50 kph.
  • We need to educate pedestrians and drivers.
  • We need signs at all entrances to the community reminding drivers that the road is shared with cyclists and pedestrians. Signs that say “Traffic Calming” don’t communicate what we need.
  • Dundonald Avenue has been closed permanently.
  • Intersections with frequent accidents like the one at Lancaster Boulevard and Mountbatten Street need 4-way stop signs.
  • Roads that aren’t plowed are even more dangerous. We have no sidewalks – why can’t all roads in Montgomery Place be graded regularly for pedestrian safety?
  • I don’t understand why it is an issue.  I used to walk to school when I was a kid, why are we spending time and resources on this?
  • Traffic is not slowing down like it used to.
  • Speed bumps like on Howell Avenue are not an option. There is now a policy against such speed bumps.
  • Narrow roads, made even more narrow by parked cars, are shared by people, bikes, cars, and pets.
  • Remind the City that MP is not like other areas. We have NO sidewalks.

That the Montgomery Place Community Association executive pursues the reduction of speed on Montgomery streets to 40 kph.
Moved by Donna Dent   –   Seconded by Jim McAllister
CARRIED with one abstention.

This motion was passed on the understanding that the 11th Street Bypass was NOT to be included for a reduced speed limit. The MPCA will focus on pedestrian and vehicle safety when arguments are presented for lowering the speed limit.

  1. Other Conversation

Progress with Local Area Planning (LAP) was of interest to everyone at the meeting. LAP planners with the City want concrete statements of what Montgomery Place wants.

Vacant Land in the Community – There is a triangle-shaped piece of land on the north side of the 3300 block of 11th Street West. There is a block of land at the end of Dieppe and Mountbatten Streets, along Dundonald Avenue. Currently both are zoned R2 – single family dwellings and duplexes. The City will not develop these lands; it will sell to developers.

Residents said that Montgomery Place is different. Our neighbourhood has a unique character that we want to preserve. We have to save it as a special place – with all the changes that have come and will come – we could end up with a neighbourhood where none of us want to live anymore. A move to designate the community as a Heritage Site is underway through Heritage Canada. If successful, heritage designation will help us retain the character and essence of Montgomery Place. Some consideration has already occurred through the subdivision restriction of 60 ft.

What about developing a Peacekeeper Park to honour local area peacekeepers on one of these vacant plots? It would be in keeping with Montgomery Place tradition and provide a needed place to honour more recent veterans. This idea, which residents at the meeting overwhelmingly supported, will be presented at the February 10, 2016 LAP meeting on heritage and culture. Keeping these spaces green is good.

The land west of Chappell Drive will never be residential. We must be watchful that it remains as commercial, business or light industrial. We do not want heavy industrial with dangerous goods and heavy truck traffic to develop there.

That vacant land in Montgomery Place remain R2 zoning.
Moved by Irv Stevens   –   Seconded by Suzanne Curtis
CARRIED unanimously.

Noise – We are a community surrounded by noise – the railyards and new COC and bus barns to the south; the constant traffic along Circle Drive to the east; the rail line, truck traffic on 11th Street bypass and Viterra elevator to the north; the proposed industrial development to the west. MP yards have been decimated by the increasing and unrelenting noise that bombards them. The City had conducted some sound testing and has generally found that the levels are within City levels of acceptability. Noise will be a topic of a LAP meeting.

The berm at Montgomery’s south edge is not acceptable. “I would be embarrassed if I was the engineer who designed that,” remarked one resident. It is too low to block sound from the rail yards, the landfill and the City Operations Centre. The fence on Montgomery’s east edge is just as ineffective. It may block sight, but not sound. Indeed, it helps funnel the traffic noise into Montgomery Place yards and homes. The fence along the 11th Street bypass is also too low to block noise.

Concerned residents will present their views when the LAP meeting on noise is scheduled.

Further discussion included comments that:

  • Always emphasize the unique character of our community. A VLA community in Grande Prairie, Alberta was preserved through a civic policy to protect the integrity of the original community.
  • Apparently MP has sufficient municipal reserve, so creating more park space is resisted.
  • When will the LAP be completed?
  • How do we know that our issues will be dealt with? I get the feeling that the city is doing what they want and not sure if the city is listening or cares.
  • The LAP hasn’t covered all the matters we’re interested in. We need more on many topics, including:
  • Noise
  • Land Use
  • Trains
  1. Wrap-Up

The meeting adjourned a few minutes before 9 pm, with thanks to everyone who attended and shared their thoughts and opinions. We don’t all feel the same on every issue, but we all felt that our comments were heard.