Rezoning for High Rise


Date:Thursday, September 13, 2018
Start time: 7:00 PM
Location: Brunskill School – 101 Wiggins Avenue (Small Gymnasium)
Re: 1006 College Drive & 421 Clarence Avenue North Proposed Official Community Plan Amendment and Rezoning
Applicant: North Prairie Developments

The City of Saskatoon has received applications from North Prairie Developments to amend the Official Community Plan and rezone 1006 College Drive and 421 Clarence Avenue North in the Varsity View neighbourhood (the vacant property adjacent to the intersection of College Drive and Clarence Avenue North).

The purpose of these applications is to facilitate the development of a multiple-unit residential building at this location consisting of:
– 12 floors above grade with approximately 170 residential units; and
– 4 parking levels below grade with approximately 230 parking spaces.

These applications require approval from City Council.

The purpose of this meeting is to provide neighbouring residents the opportunity to learn details of the applicant’s proposal and the rezoning process, and to gather public input on this matter.

Representatives of the City of Saskatoon and North Prairie Developments will each make a presentation, followed by a question and answer session.

Proposed Non-Conforming High Rise at College & Clarence Avenue

There is a proposal to rezone the corner of College and Clarence to allow a 12-storey 171-unit high rise with four below- grade parking levels. A public consultation meeting is scheduled for mid or late September. It will likely be on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evening. The date is not yet set. If you would like to be kept informed of this development, please email me at

Rezoning for high density housing has both supporters and detractors. Supporters suggest that high density housing will:
• Reduce development costs and taxes
• Reduce loss of farmland
• Increase public transit ridership
Detractors wonder why:
• Increased housing density in Saskatoon has been accompanied by higher taxes
• Space for people to live a healthy life is not equally important as farmland
• Non conforming development is allowed when we took so much time to develop local area plans which allow for a wide variety of housing types within Varsity View

What do the facts say about these positions? Infill and high density housing have the advantage of requiring less new roads and sewer pipes. However, there are many other contributions to our overall tax bill. One major area is policing. Between 2006 and 2015 spending on policing jumped by 80% or 64% on an inflation adjusted basis, population growth was 23%. There is evidence that violent crime is linked to areas of high population density. Cities that demolish low income high density housing and disperse the residents to lower density housing reduce the City wide violent crime rate. It is not a coincidence that Toronto’s gun crime is centered on a few apartment complexes.

Reduce loss of farmland is self evident. How important that is in a Country that is one of the largest in the World is a matter for debate. When it comes to biodiversity, there is clearly a greater variety of plant and animal life in the average backyard in Varsity View than you will find in the average wheat field.

Increased public transport use goes to the high density camp. Overall, about 7.3% of Varsity View residents take public transport to work compared with 4.3% for the City as a whole. At a guess, a new 171-unit high rise will add an extra 5 riders compared to a combination of development within our zoning rules and low rise development in the ‘burbs.

Wherever you sit on this issue, please attend the meeting with the City to discuss the rezoning application. Meetings with good attendance carry a much greater weight than those with poor attendance.