Call to Action

As promised, we are letting you know that the proposal to construct a major highway through the Northeast and Small Swales is returning to Council for possible approval on Wednesday, May 29

We are urging Swale Watchers once again to write letters, which must be submitted by Monday May 27 no later than 5 pm. Find a how-to on submitting a letter and an example letter at the end of this page.

We continue to be dismayed by the province’s lack of commitment to protecting these environmentally sensitive areas, which is evident in their response to the Mayor. Read the Minister of Highway’s response here. Nothing in the letter provides Council with any assurance that the protection of these irreplaceable natural areas will be a priority during development. There are no concrete commitments to specific environmental protections or mitigations, and no guarantee that there will even be an Environmental Impact Assessment. The project, which would send 8 lanes of traffic through the Northeast Swale and ten lanes through the Small Swale, remains as disastrous as it always has been, and we are very concerned.

We are requesting for the Swales Watchers to write letters and urge Council to:

1. Vote NO to the Phase 2 Proposed Saskatoon Freeway alignment through the Northeast and Small Swales.
2. Live up to their commitment to protecting these natural areas.

We also urge you to to contact your Councillor to discuss this issue. Find your Councillor and email them here.

Phase 2 of the proposed Saskatoon Freeway is a 27-kilometer-long segment of divided highway that would arc around the eastern outskirts of the city and then swing west, through future neighbourhoods and the Swales, to cross the South Saskatchewan River about a kilometer north of Chief Mistawasis bridge.

The province’s lack of commitment to protecting the Swales is indicated by their intention to expand the roadway from its standard width of 4 lanes to 8 lanes (4 each way) where it crosses the Northeast Swale and then to 10 lanes (5 each way) where it crosses the Small Swale, causing irredeemable damage to both of these valuable natural areas. Although the proposed route has been tweaked slightly, ostensibly to protect the Northeast Swale, there is no evidence that this small change would have any real benefit.  

In presenting the deferral motion at the March Council meeting, Councillor Block said, “I would really prefer to be able to competently say ‘yes’  to this alignment but for me it will need some reassurances that this is not just [the province saying] “we are setting lofty goals” but rather [that they are] making a commitment – a serious commitment – about protecting the Swales.”

Did you know?

The Saskatoon Freeway is a provincial highway project. Funding for construction will be determined by the provincial government.

Species at Risk that could be affected by the Saskatoon Freeway

  • horned grebe
  • short-eared owl
  • common nighthawk
  • yellow rail
  • loggerhead shrike
  • northern leopard frog
  • bobolink
  • American badger
  • crowfoot violet
  • marsh felwort
  • plains rough fescue
  • American germander
  • And more…

How to submit a letter or request to speak

The issue will return to Council for decision once the province has replied. We will keep you fully informed. Meanwhile, we urge you to write to your Councillor to discuss this issue. Contact them here.

Submit a letter to the City Council in support of the Swale Watchers’ recommendations. Or request to speak in person (limit of 5 minutes) at the May 29 meeting. You must submit your letter (an example letter is further down the page) and/or request to speak no later than Monday May 27 at 5 pm.

When filling out the form please fill in the following:

Name of the organization or agency you are representing (if applicable):
If you are writing a letter on behalf of an organization put your organization name here, otherwise leave this space blank.

If you are requesting to speak please do not put Swale Watchers as we can only have one representative speak. You can speak on behalf of your organization or as an individual.

What meeting do you wish to speak/submit comments? (if known):
City Council Agenda – Regular Business Meeting

What agenda item do you wish to comment on?

Note that you can either attach a Word document/PDF letter to the form or put your comments/letter directly into the comments box.

Example letter:

Dear Council, 

The Northeast and Small Swales are refuges for nature and for the people of Saskatoon. These ribbons of native grassland and natural wetlands support an astonishing abundance of life, including at least 49 species so rare that they are listed as Species of Conservation Concern. In a time of ever worsening biodiversity losses, natural areas of this diversity and importance should be protected from development.

Instead, City Council has been asked to endorse a plan, developed by the provincial Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure, that would drive multiple lanes of high-speed traffic through both Swales. The damage and degradation this development would cause is well documented.

I am writing with two requests that Council:

1. Vote NO to the Phase 2 Proposed Saskatoon Freeway alignment through the Northeast and Small Swales.

2. Live up to their commitment to protecting these natural areas.


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The Swale Watchers gratefully acknowledge that we live and work on Treaty Six territory and the homeland of the Metis Nation.

© 2024 Swale Watchers

Photos By: Muhammad Zain Ul Abideen & M. Mickelson