Development and Roads
The City of Saskatoon has identified the lands east of the river and north of Fedoruk Drive as its preferred area for future growth. The Northeast Swale runs directly across this “growth sector”.
To facilitate future development of new neighbourhoods in University Heights 3, the City recently expanded Central Avenue and McOrmond Drive, both of which cross the Swale. Future plans call for an “upgrading” of Lowe Road, which cuts through the high-quality core of the Conservation Zone. Meanwhile, the province is well advanced with planning a highway, called the Saskatoon Freeway, which will not only fragment the Swale and but will also bisect planned neighbourhoods. This route will cross the river about one kilometer north of the new Chief Mistawasis Bridge and will cost more than $2 billion.
Why is this considered a challenge?
In the context of all this change, the Swale has been recognized as a Conservation Zone under the Jurisdiction of the Meewasin Valley Authority, and a plan has been developed to reduce or mitigate ecological damage within defined boundaries. Disappointingly, this plan often settles for easy compromises and only rarely reflects a whole-hearted and coordinated effort to find win-win solutions for both the well-being of the city, and the health of the Swale.
The good news is that there are practical and affordable steps we can take to significantly improve the long-term outcome for the Swale and all the creatures that rely on it. But for that to happen, we need inspired leadership from our Mayor and council.
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The Northeast Swale Watchers is a group of concerned citizens from a variety of backgrounds who have been monitoring development and advocating for the protection of the Swales since 2011. In our advocacy, members contribute their knowledge and time to make presentations, attend meetings, conduct citizen science, and engage with the public.
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Development of this website funded by Ecofriendly Sask