Saskatoon is moving closer to developing a hydroelectric power station along the South Saskatchewan River.
Mayor Charlie Clark signed a memorandum of understanding with Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) Chief Mark Arcand on Wednesday, outlining the joint project.
The proposal involves building a power station along the Saskatoon weir, which could provide electricity for up to 3,000 homes.
“It’s going to be a great step in producing more renewable power,” Clark said.
Plans for the station also involve building a walkway across the weir, which the city said would be wider and more accessible than the CP rail bridge crossing.
There’s also the potential for the power station construction to accommodate a future recreational whitewater rafting option, and a “stairway” for fish to traverse the weir.
“Those are great things for people, the benefits are tremendous,” Arcand said.
The STC chief noted the project would be an opportunity for Indigenous jobs since the project would be undertaken in connection with the First Nations Power Authority.
“One job makes a difference in somebody’s life,” he said.
“Whether it’s First Nations or non-First Nations people, as long as it’s making a difference in that family’s quality of life, we think every job is important.”
City staff and members of the STC will now engage in feasibility studies for the hydroelectric station, including assessments for environmental impact and technical viability.
The STC has promised to foot the estimated $65 million bill if the project moves forward.
Arcand said they plan to approach private sector partners for some of the funding, while revenues could offset the rest of the cost.