Monday, August 23, 2010
Proposed Hydropower Generation at the Weir
Saskatoon is entering an exciting time. Not only is the City of Saskatoon’s electrical utility – Saskatoon Light & Power – exploring the possibility of building a hydropower plant at the Weir, the Province is considering a one-of-a-kind Whitewater Park at the site. The hydropower project would provide green power to our community and an additional source of revenue to help offset property taxes, while the whitewater project would add recreational and tourism opportunities. The construction of these projects, as well as a proposed pedestrian bridge across the river, will enhance the Weir’s reputation as a unique “people place” in our city, and offer many new and exciting opportunities to enjoy.
Although the two projects could be built separately, the chance to build them at the same time and share construction costs would mean savings for both projects. The proposed projects have just undergone pre-feasibility engineering and environmental studies. These studies were presented to the community in the form of public open houses in June. Saskatoon Light & Power is currently reviewing the feedback from these events, and later this year will present a recommendation to City Council on whether to proceed with a two year, full-feasibility study and environmental impact assessment.
A public consultation will be held in October of 2010, after which the report will be submitted to Council with a recommendation of whether or not to approve proceeding with the studies. If City Council approves the studies, further public consultations will take place at key times during the study phase, and again in 2012 once the studies have been completed. The earliest these facilities could open is 2016.