Saskatoon developers aggressive as population climbs: City expecting to see 16,000 new homes by 2016

By François Biber, NewsTalk 650 CKOM October 30, 2013 - As the population in Saskatoon continues to rise, developers in the city are trying to keep pace with the demand for new homes and commercial and industrial development. “We’re going through about 500 acres per year for single and multi-family and commercial development and it’s probably the fastest we’ve been growing through our history,” said land branch services manager Frank Long.

Tuesday Long presented the city’s three-year development plan to the planning and operations committee. The report highlighted the servicing schedule in new neighbourhoods in Saskatoon. With the population expected to grow north of 300,000 by 2018, Long said in order to keep up, developers need to have 16,700 homes in line. Long said the development is based on a four-per-cent growth rate Saskatoon has been experiencing over the past four years, adding if that growth rate changes, developers would also change to avoid over development. Long expects the growth rate to hover around 2.5 to 3 per cent.

“That is what developers are telling us in the plans they’ve given us. It’s a really aggressive servicing plan and I think you’re seeing a lot of confidence in the market over the next three years.”

Long added development is split between new neighbourhoods and core neighbourhoods. The city’s predicting 81 per cent of new development will happen in new neighbourhoods such as Aspen Ridge, Evergreen, Holmwood and Kensington. The other 19 per cent, according to Long will come through infill development downtown and within the boundary of Circle Drive.

The split between high-rise multi-unit residential and single-family homes is about 50/50, according to Long.

On top of an aggressive residential development plan, developers plan to service about 500 acres of industrial land, mostly in the Marquis Industrial area. The report also showed developers plans to service close to 200 acres of commercial land, accommodating more than two million square feet of retail space.

Long said city planners are looking at policy changes to promote infill growth in Saskatoon to offset urban sprawl.

“Most of our growth is taking place in suburban areas and the city has a goal to see more infill development and there’s policies being worked on to get us to higher numbers there,” Long said.

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