Saskatoon mayor Don Atchison says he’s looking forward to 2016.
Looking ahead to the new year, Atchison said he expects to see progress on a number of projects, including the new Traffic Bridge and the North Commuter Parkway Bridge.
He’s also hopeful that 2016 will see things move ahead on development of Parcel Y.
The mayor said he was happy to see the PotashCorp Playland at Kinsmen Park open in 2015. He said he’s hopeful that the Optimists’ Club will be able to move ahead with a proposed rope lift at Diefenbaker Park to make the hill there useable for tubing and snowboarding.
Atchison said one of the biggest challenges remains balancing growth and development with preservation of the environment.
“The other part is to make sure we keep our natural areas, the wetlands, the grasslands — that we accommodate them to the best of our abilities,” he said.
While he was optimistic about the year ahead, Atchison acknowledged that the economy is likely to loom large in 2016. With lower commodity prices affecting the bottom line for all levels of government, Atchison said the city would have to be cautious in its decision-making. Overall though, he said the city is well-positioned to weather a tighter economy.
“We need to remind ourselves that we not only have oil. We have potash, we have gold, we have uranium, rare earth. There’s forestry, there’s agriculture,” he said.
Atchison said he expects Saskatoon to remain a bright spot in the country.
“Saskatoon does have one of the most balanced economies in all of Canada. We’re either number one or number two. Saskatoon and Halifax vie for that position all the time,” he said.