Committee to consider relocating Saskatoon’s downtown yards to city’s northern edge

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Committee to consider relocating Saskatoon’s downtown yards to city’s northeast edge
WATCH: Saskatoon's standing policy committee on finance will be considering a report Monday that recommends the relocation of the city's downtown yards – Sep 9, 2020

The City of Saskatoon has unveiled a plan that could see the redevelopment of north downtown. The proposal would see the city yards moved out of the downtown, and into Saskatoon’s north end.

That in turn would free up around 30 acres in north downtown for redevelopment.

While there’s no firm plan available for the area in question, various proposals have been floated in recent years, including residential and commercial space that could significantly change the city’s downtown.

To start, administration recommends the purchase of approximately $16.8 million worth of property in the northeast to relocate the downtown yards there.

The standing policy committee on finance will consider a proposal to buy 20.03 acres at 3815 Wanuskewin Rd. for $15 million and 3.81 at the adjacent 3802 Arthur Rose Ave. for $1.799 million when it meets on Monday, according to the agenda posted on the city’s website Wednesday afternoon.

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With an eight-year leaseback option for 3815 Wanuskewin Rd., the overall net price of both could be $7.8 million.

The money would come from a combination of borrowing, selling off surplus city assets, and the gas-tax fund, according to the report.

Read more: Saskatoon exploring phased redevelopment of city yards and north downtown

“Administration is recommending that both properties be acquired, as the location and improvements are ideal to serve the city well into the future,” the report reads.

If successful at the committee level and approved by city lawmakers, the downtown yards would be relocated in 2028.

“Phasing operations out of the downtown city yards allows for the redevelopment of north downtown in the longer term,” Saskatoon’s director of technical services, Dan Willems, said in a statement.

The city’s growth plan points to the area as “having potential to accommodate significant growth in the future,” his statement added.

While the Civic Operations Centre serves as a yard site in the southwest west corner of Saskatoon, the report notes how “a north operations yard is needed to improve efficiencies.”

The downtown yards have operated since the 1940s and while they have physically expanded as the city has grown, there is not enough room left to accommodate further expansion if Saskatoon’s population reaches the 375,000 to 500,000 people planned for the coming decades.

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Hundreds of city staff work out of the downtown yards.

It’s also where civic vehicles are fuelled and maintained, and where equipment and materials for roadwork, water and sewer infrastructure, and garbage collection are kept.

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