Saskatoon is banking on a new riverfront

Saskatoon is in the process of developing a new riverfront plan that will increase the potential of both occupied and vacant sites at a critical juncture in the city. The area to be developed extends from the Victoria Street Bridge on the east to Avenue C in Riversdale.

The project is designed to reconnect the south end of downtown with the riverfront in Riversdale. It will include the requisite mix of land uses that will be developed with a combination of private and public development mechanisms.

Thus far, overall planning guidelines have been set, with urban design guidelines to follow. At present, used such as libraries, residential communities, parks and recreational areas have been considered. An outdoor plaza is slated to be built that could accommodate a spill over of the market and commemorate Saskatoon’s immigrant community.

The plan will include livework spaces for artists and urbane folk to live in residential developments limited to four floors in height. Other features may include a micro-brewery, restaurant and commercial development set up in the south-east corner of the Riversdale side of the development to encourage people to pass from one side of the freeway to the other.

The west side of the development will be connected across the freeway, with initiatives to widen 19th Street to make it more pedestrian friendly.

The development could become a major attraction for the city that would include a performance theatre, visitor centre and retail facilities.

It is estimated that the development would include $36 million in public money for infrastructure, $900,000 to clean up the brownfields, $20 million for the library and park, $6 million for the demolition of the Gathercole building.Thus far the federal government has indicated it will contribute $15 million. The Saskatchewan government may contribute $5 million (in addition to the $4 million it has already contributed to the river park.