So… here’s the thing.
This is going to be a lot of text, but I’m going to try my best and narrow it down as much as possible.
This one is easy – we need infill if we want to be a better city.
As it sits right now, we have plenty of single family houses – lots of bungalows, or duplexes, I’d even count fourplexes in this list as they take up about the same amount of space (maybe two lots). Here’s my point – Saskatoon sprawls. That should actually be our tagline, not Saskatoon Shines! – Saskatoon Sprawls. We have a history of building out (see: Stonebridge, Rosewood, Holmwood, Evergreen) and we can’t continue that. To illustrate – for each new neighbourhood we put up (say the neighbourhood can accommodate 100 people in 1 person/bungalow), we need to build 100 homes. Those 100 homes all need roads to them, sewer pipes, water pipes, electricity, etc. Now, let’s say we build a condominium on the corner of College and Clarence. Those same 100 people can live there – except this time, no new sewer pipes, water pipes, electricity, or roads need to be created (to an extent, I know that all of those need to be put into the building) from the city’s point of view. All of that existing infrastructure is there!
If Saskatoon is going to ever grow to 500,000 people, we need infill.
People of the Broadway area:
Actually, let me be more specific: business owners and citizens concerned about the economic impact of infill development. This one goes out to you – infill development adds more people to your neighbourhood. That’s more money in property taxes helping to repair the roads around your area (indirectly). That’s more money being spent at locally owned grocery stores, restaurants, bars, pubs, salons, and businesses in general.
Not convinced? Read this article from an American real estate agent from 2006 (yes, we’re that far behind).
It creates jobs.
Yeah, really. Both of the projects – the Broadway one, and the College/Clarence one that I have previously mentioned – will create/sustain jobs. Well over 100 per project one can imagine. Now, should we support the local economy and the local carpenters, engineers, architects, electricians, plumbers, landscapers, etc. who work on these projects?*
*I’m not oblivious to the fact that some companies may bring in people/firms from other areas of the country to perform work. So be it – either way, it’s adding to the national economy and making Canada a better place all around.
“It changes the character.”
No kidding. This isn’t your great-great-grandparent’s sod house on the prairies anymore. I bet that when someone built the first wooden house, one was keen to remark “It’s going to change the character of this pristine landscape so much!!” I sure hope it does!
It’s change. Change is inevitable. It has to occur so society can grow and create new opportunities for us all. And with that, we need to get on board. Change, or get left behind (and I’ll even attempt to build you a sod house*).
*Not really because I wouldn’t know where to start. But, wouldn’t you know it – thanks to change that’s occurred in the last 20 years, I can learn how.
It takes vehicles off the road.
Let’s just think logically for a second.
With the current urban sprawl, you need a car to get around*. You live in Stonebridge, but work in the North Industrial area. As a biker myself, I’ll be the first to say it – who wants to bike to work for 2 hours in the winter mornings? 15-30 minutes, sure, any day. But what happens if you live on the corner of College and Clarence, even at No. 1 River Landing, and work downtown? Maybe instead of two cars, your family only needs one. Maybe with the planned Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT), you don’t need a car at all. Maybe, just maybe, you can do what I did and sold my vehicle and now use a bike to get around. It’s possible, and even more possible with infill projects like No. 1 River Landing, the Broadway proposal, and the College/Clarence proposal, to get around the city without a vehicle. Isn’t that sweet? And yes, we do have some bike lanes too. Oh – and the new Traffic Bridge – it’s got some awesome bike paths and walkways.
*Obviously, as I prove later in this paragraph, it is possible to do without a vehicle.
BECAUSE WE WANT IT.
When I say we, I mean the people of Saskatoon. There’s absolutely no argument here – remember how fast No. 1 River Landing sold out? (For those that didn’t click on the article – 4 DAYS) There is a reason why developers want approval for more of these projects – people are demanding them. And for those unfamiliar with basic economic principles: supply = demand; until that point, we, collectively, still want these projects.
The last reason for right now.
And this is a personal reason. If you didn’t read the about me page, you need to understand this: I’m a university student. University students don’t do anything unless they have to (trust me on this one). Here it is – I spent about $100 to put this site online for you. If a 19 year-old can be as forward thinking to do that, don’t you at least owe it to society to consider the points I’ve made?
This is the last one.
But it kind of flows from the last one. And the one before that. People want these projects. People also don’t want these projects – and that’s who this website is for. Please take your time to watch this video of another passionate individual talking about why projects like these need to go ahead:
Reason #9 (New Addition)
The proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.
An important aspect of any major city is its transit system. Personally, I love cities such as Boston, New York, and Canadian ones such as Toronto and Calgary because one has the ability to get around the city (better than Saskatoon at least) by using the transit system. While we’re no where near the populations of those cities, it’s time we start to look at making larger improvements to our transit system for two reasons.
#1: Those larger improvements, such as the BRT, allow people to move around the city relying less on personal vehicles. Infill projects such as the two aforementioned developments need better transit systems to support the larger number of people living in the core areas.
#2: The BRT system needs infill development to support itself. There’s no way around it – Saskatoon Transit barely supports itself as it is. With infill development, and presumably more people utilizing it’s offerings, Saskatoon Transit’s idea of a BRT system can support itself.
Let’s get more people into the core of the city, utilizing currently underused services, such as transit, and in turn, less of the city’s budget needs to be spent supporting the transit system. Furthermore, the proposed BRT system, if running along destination routes in the city, such as Broadway, will contribute to the viability of that community for years to come.