Saskatoon unveils illustrations of potential downtown enviornment districts

For the first time, Saskatoon residents are getting a look at what a future downtown arena could look like.

Last week, the city announced it had narrowed potential locations for a proposed downtown arena and associated entertainment district to two spots: the Midtown Plaza’s north parking lot and the undeveloped north downtown area near the city yards.

On Monday, city councillors were presented a report outlining drawbacks and benefits of both locations, as well as artistic illustrations. The illustrations only show a concept for the arena. A design process still needs to take place.

All but one councillor voted to approve the report. The city can now begin collecting feedback from the public.

An artistic illustration of what the downtown arena could look like if it was built on the city yards land. (City of Saskatoon)

Mayor Charlie Clark said the district is exciting for Saskatoon and people outside the city. 

“[This] is an opportunity to create experiences not just for residents in our city but for residents in Melfort, Meadow Lake, Muskeg Lake, La Ronge, communities all over the province,” he said.

Consultants found that the Midtown location was the “highest-scoring site” based on the technical criteria they were using.

The report also indicated that the city yards site, which the city owns, would cost more than the Midtown location not owned by the city.

Dan Willems, director of technical services, said it’s because the site is not vacant, with the city’s roadways, operations and fleet service crews, among others, running out of the area.

“[It’s] very active and nearly all utilized land that would require very thoughtful efforts to what relocation would look like,” Willems told councilors Monday. 

The city will begin collecting feedback from the public this week. There will be a representative sample survey by telephone and online from Aug. 30 to Sept. 5. There will also be an online survey for businesses and residents from Sept. 13 to Oct. 3.

The results will be presented to council in November before it makes the final decision.

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