A new development proposed for a 90-acre parcel just outside Saskatoon would be the first of its kind in North America if it’s built as planned.
The Buffalo Ranch development would be a 2000-unit neighbourhood that emits zero carbon.
Architect Gary Marvin is behind the project. Back in the 1980s, he put together a design for a downtown stadium that was ultimately defeated in a referendum in 1985. Marvin left Saskatoon shortly after.
On Monday, he was back in city hall to present a pitch for Buffalo Ranch at a meeting of the planning, development and community services committee. Marvin was joined by Harold Orr, who designed the Passive House built in Regina in 1977.
Also on hand was Jason Tratch of Porteus Waters — a company which sells modular, membrane-based water treatment facilities.
Marvin explained that using Tratch’s water treatment facilities would likely save tens of thousands of dollars per home. That money could then be directed towards better building standards pioneered by Orr — including airtight construction and strategically placed windows which would provide most of the heat.
Marvin said the development would also see spaces free of cars — each 10-acre parcel would be surrounded by a perimeter road feeding vehicles into a network of underground parkades.
“We hope that there’s going to be enough interest generated here for people to recognize that this is the future,” Marvin said. “Already in Europe they’re doing things like this. I’m not re-inventing any new wheels here.”
Marvin added he has already received approval for the project, which would sit on 90 acres purchased from the RM of Corman Park, four kilometers from the Northwest Industrial area. He said he was presenting in Saskatoon because of the proximity to the city, and that he’s not looking for special exemptions or extra money. Rather, he wants the city and the RM to work together to iron out regulatory hurdles, such as re-zoning.
“We’re seeking a commitment from the city to help us work through the normal processes of re-zoning, and to work co-operatively with the RM of Corman Park,” he said.
Marvin estimated that it would take about ten years to get the development fully built-out.