Public Works Manager Pat Hyde showing new notification boards to be used during this month's sweep. (David Shield, CBC)

For the first time in 20 years, the City of Saskatoon is sweeping inner-city neighbourhoods to get rid of fallen leaves.

Starting this month, 15 neighbourhoods with large trees lining the streets will be swept. The city hopes the new sweeping program will help to solve drainage problems in the spring caused by blocked gutters.

Street Sweeping

List of neighbourhoods involved in the sweep:

Caswell Hill
City Park
King George
Varsity View
Holiday Park
Buena Vista

Priority Two Neighbourhoods

North Park
Richmond Heights
Queen Elizabeth

"It's a difficult thing to measure, but we do know that there's an impact from the collection of debris on the streets," said Pat Hyde, manager of Public Works for the City of Saskatoon. "When you couple that along with the sanding operations that take place during the winter ... that has a direct impact on how drainage issues can happen."

New initiatives

Public Works is also testing a number of other initiatives during the fall sweep. It's getting rid of paper "door hangers" in favour of large metal signs warning people to move their cars. The city said it wants to notify everyone parking on the street, not solely home owners.

As well, the city is trying out a new system of "courtesy towing" in certain areas. Tow trucks will move vehicles to adjacent streets, not to an impound yard. There will be no charge for people who have been towed under this system. To find their vehicles, residents can call a 24-hour hotline at 975-7656.

In neighbourhoods with "excessive on-street parking," like Nutana, City Park and Varsity View, the traditional "ticket and tow" approach will be used and drivers will be fined.

The sweeping should start around Thanksgiving. City workers hope to get the sweeping done before snow starts falling.