Saskatoon mayoral candidates were busy Friday campaigning for the upcoming municipal election.
Charlie Clark provided more details of his campaign and what his plans would be if re-elected Saskatoon mayor.
“There are key issues that I’ve worked hard on for the last four years that have yet to be completed,” Clark said at a press conference.
“I want to see this work through to ensure that we can have the most impact on the future of the city and for generations to come.”
He said his platform’s key points are aiming to keep people working, keep people safe and strengthen quality of life. He wants to continue work postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic, including implementing an economic growth strategy and a strategy to address the city’s crystal meth issue.
Clark brought up points outside of his own platform, mentioning disagreements he had with how other mayoral candidates are campaigning, specifically Rob Norris.
“I’ve seen Mr. Norris door-knocking with other candidates. I’ve seen them supporting their statements on social media and other different ways that it just has the clear indication that there’s some elitism,” Clark said about his opponent.
Norris held a press conference in response to Clark’s comments hours later.
Norris disagreed with Clark’s statement saying he had a slate. He also called Clark’s platform “troubling”, saying he missed areas which he believes his own campaign covers. He said one thing candidates have in common is seeing the need for change in Saskatoon.
“That spirit of change is something that we’ve certainly been hearing now for the better part of 2.5 months if not a little longer, so that spirit of change resonates and the notion that there’s a slate that doesn’t make any sense to me,” Norris said.
Like Norris, mayoral candidate Don Atchison believes the downtown library project should be paused. Atchison said he would want to hear more details from the city solicitor and city clerk before following through with the project.
“I want them to rule on whether or not the $67.5 million is actually a done deal. Can that be reversed at this particular point in time? And if it can, then we need to have those discussions at that point,” Atchison said.
He detailed more of his platform, saying job creation and rejuvenating downtown are major factors to improving the city.
He says if elected mayor, he would have a phased out plan to continue growth — including removing downtown train tracks and making the area feel safer. He said he will do this without a tax increase.
Architectural technologist Cary Tarasoff also has his eye on cutting the new downtown library from the budget, at least for now.
The new library is estimated to cost $134 million, and the city is on the hook for about half of that.
Tarasoff said the project is too expensive, especially at a time when the pandemic has left the city with a projected $14.6-million deficit. However, unlike many other candidates, Tarasoff says he will not promise to cut taxes.
“My sense tells me that we’re in for a real rough ride these next few years, that governments are bottoming out in debt and we’re not going to be able to float ourselves independent of that,” he explained.
Tarasoff said big expenses need to be cut for the time being amid the pandemic, and that also includes plans for a new bus rapid transit system.
He said the city should invest in things like new sidewalks in neighbourhoods without them.