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Author Topic: Saskatoon City Council Financing Wal-Mart
al-Qa'bong
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posted 03 March 2006 09:51 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I recently received this e-mail. I thought prairie babblers might be interested:

quote:
City Hall is in the process of pressuring the Saskatoon Public Library Board to approve a 15-year tax deferral from the Library's assessment to help finance the new Walmart (the Stonegate development project). Here are excerpts from a letter D'Arcy wrote to David Anderson, Chair of the Library Board, on February 22, 2006:

"As I understand it, First Pro Shopping Centre developers, representing Walmart and the Stonegate development south of Circle Drive, are putting considerable pressure on City Council to approve the development and to build an overpass over Circle Drive on Clarence Avenue much ahead of the original schedule and at great public expense. The City administration and City Council, in turn, have been attempting to identify tax concessions for First Pro or to divert provincial, municipal, school and library assessments towards this project."

"In the process, the City administration has already pressured the Saskatoon Public Library Board to approve a tax deferral from the library assessment to the Stonegate developers for a period of seven
years. Not having reached their required budget objective, the administration has now decided it must wring further concessions from the Library Board and extend that tax holiday to 15 years."

"I am very much opposed to tax concessions to attract commercial developments in the City. But I am even more horrified that the Library Board is being asked to defer very necessary tax dollars for
this purpose. The proposal begs the question: What possible benefit does this plan have for the Saskatoon Public Library? How will deferral help to fund an already strapped public institution that is almost exclusively dependent upon property tax dollars?"

Please protest this diversion of public support from the Saskatoon Public Library by contacting the Board and City Council (addresses below). Bev DuBois, the City Council representative on the Library
Board is also a person to "get to" in order to make a difference. Urge them not to entertain this proposal or any like it in the future. A letter to the StarPhoenix would also be helpful. As D'Arcy concludes in his letter, "If the municipal government wants to raise public dollars, they should not do it on the back of public service agencies such as the Library system."

See City Council Minutes of January 23, 2006 for further information on the funding strategy for the Stonegate retail proposal.
Please circulate this.

Thanks,
Mr. David Anderson, Chair
Saskatoon Public Library
311 - 23rd Street East
Saskatoon, SK S7K 0J6

Saskatoon City Council
[To: His Worship the Mayor and Members of City Council]
City of Saskatoon
222 3rd Ave. North
Saskatoon, SK S7K 0J5



From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 03 March 2006 10:17 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What the hell! The PUBLIC LIBRARY is being asked to take a hit in order to finance a WALMART? The richest corporation in the world?

Holy crap, al-Q. I hope you get lots of people organizing over that one. Good luck to you.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tim
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posted 03 March 2006 11:08 PM      Profile for Tim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
More developments at the City Council meeting of a few days ago:
http://snipurl.com/librariesforwalmart (StarPhoenix, Feb. 28)

It looks like go-ahead for the big box development (with Walmart as the anchor) has been given, along with approval for the funding arrangement for building the interchange ahead of schedule. I assume the Library Board would need to approve the extension of the tax holiday from 7 years to 15 years, as if 7 years wasn't bad enough to begin with.

quote:
The city also hopes to dedicate incremental municipal and library taxes collected on the property for the next 15 years to pay back a $5.6 million loan for the project, and to earmark $400,000 a year from the new infrastructure levy towards the interchange for the next 15 years, for a total of $4.2 million.

From: Paris of the Prairies | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 03 March 2006 11:48 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I dunno, I think Wal-mart (and Michaels's and Future Shop and Sobey's and Canadian Tire and...) should have their taxes increased to pay for more libraries.
From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Joey Kay
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posted 06 March 2006 03:33 AM      Profile for Joey Kay     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

[ 15 June 2007: Message edited by: Joey Kay ]


From: Canada | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
HeywoodFloyd
token right-wing mascot
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posted 06 March 2006 10:22 AM      Profile for HeywoodFloyd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
But having said that, does Saskatoon really need another Wal-Mart? I think not.

I totally agree.

My MIL lives on Clarence Ave S and it would totally suck for that street to increase the traffic flow on it. It would be nice for the city to put the interchange at Clarence at Circle but there would have to be some additional traffic slowing measures put in place on Clarence. Maybe replace the four way stop at Clarence and Wilson with a really slow stoplight, reduce the speed on Clarence to 40kms between Ruth St and Circle, and put another light at the intersection of Clarence Ave and Melrose Ave.


From: Edmonton: This place sucks | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
chester the prairie shark
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posted 06 March 2006 02:32 PM      Profile for chester the prairie shark     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
sigh. this is what comes from the developer/real estate lobby pitching their half-truths to a "go-go" council. the push for adding a bunch of retail started 5 or 6 years ago. typically the promoters say things like "big box development is new and exciting and if you don't have it you're a yokel" and "all this development will be new and will not rely on moving current retail around" and "big box development creates street ambieance". so you right a way see the half truths and the spin, "street ambieance"? how a developer could use that phrase in a big box application (preston crossing not stonegate) and keep a straight face is a mystery.

as the preston crossing development got started, the expressions of interest to join the gravy train heated up. the stonegate proposal joined the blairmore development (heywood you will see this on the drive in on hiway 7. oh and guess who is the major anchor in the proposed development, wal-mart. that will be 3 wal-marts if your counting)along with the University heights development and the final 2 phases of preston crossing added up to something in excess 70 acres of new retail development.

the administration commissioned an independant report that forcast population and income growth and then forebast the total amount of retail space that would be required to fill this demand. the result was that over a 25 year period most of the space would ultimately be required but that bringing the space on line should be phased to cooincide with actual growth and that developers would have to provide a market impact assessment to justify further development.

suffice to say council accepted the spin from the retail development industry and thought that the administration was gettin' in the way. in fact, a few weeks after the report went to council an administration member who mentioned the report was told, in council by a councilor, not to "ever mention the dee report again".

subsequently of course, council is starting to see what we were meaning: if you bring on a huge amount of retail development in small time you will see the widening impacts of that in the existing retail infrastructure: empty stores, changing traffic patterns, additional infrastructure costs. council more recently started to wonder if some of this development should be phased. ???????. WTF?

the stonegate development has been on the books as residential development for years. it was only after preston crossing got going that the owner decided he wanted to carve off 30 acres for big box development. the residential development could have gone ahead without an interchange and managed right up to about full development. the addition of the retail component changes this dramatically. no developer wants his retail access encumbered by a level crossing of circle drive....the upshot is council has agreed to move up its scheduled development of the interchange to the current period, build this interchange with only a 20% contribution from the developer who will benifit the most and has been further enabling this development with the types of deferals talked about in this thread.

oh and as for the spin from the developer community? typical bullshit of course, the anchors of these developments have for the most part relocated from existing locations and the maximizing of wal-mart space will intensify the attack on any retailer that sells anything that wal-mart does. new stores? sure some, like i don't know what we did before Pier One and Old Navy came to town. and restaraunts, we were assured, would be new exciting chains that would never have come to our humble burgh before. the only restaraunt that has been built in preston crossing to date is, wait for it, a burger king!
The proponents started out saying that retailing has changed, that the wave of the present and future lay in large format stores and saskatoon just did not have the place for them. ever since they opened up preston crossing, proponents have been asking for and recieving from council concessions on the size of the stores that are allowed to a point that now they are including larger percentages of stores whose square footages are in direct competion with existing retail development.

this council has been fixated on kick starting west side development. so we do, we annex the blairmore suburban development area and plan for the commercial centre there only to put it in direct competition with the also approved southeast location of the stonegate development.

sustainability? increaseing the car dependence of your retail infrastructure? not questions they cared to entertain. you see, "big-boy" cities are those entertain outside investment and that is the onle indicator and image they have really cared about.


From: Saskatoon | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
eau
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posted 06 March 2006 02:33 PM      Profile for eau        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Progress. I would bet this is being sold as progress for the fine people in Saskatoon.
From: BC | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
chester the prairie shark
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posted 06 March 2006 02:35 PM      Profile for chester the prairie shark     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
oh and heywood, i live on haultain, 2 blocks east of clarence and south of taylor. stop over next time you're in town.
From: Saskatoon | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Deep Dish
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posted 06 March 2006 08:30 PM      Profile for Deep Dish     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I dunno about Saskatoon, but the big box retailers have turned East Regina into a totally soulless place and they are building as fast as possible in the northwest.

I am wondering who is buying all this stuff for all these huge retailers.


From: halfway between the gutter and the stars | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
Tim
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posted 10 March 2006 04:13 PM      Profile for Tim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Looks like this isn't over yet:

Backlash causes city to reconsider using library taxes for overpass (Star-Phoenix)

A rally is planned for Monday at City Hall.

quote:
Next week's council meeting (Monday, March 13th) is the last reading of the
bylaw to lift the H designation on the Stonegate Development. If council
passes this bylaw on Monday there is nothing to stop First Pro from putting
"shovel to earth" as they say, and begin building a third Wal-Mart in
Saskatoon! Alas, the funding strategy has already been passed to finance
the overpass required to access this big-box development. This, as
mentioned before, includes the 15 year tax deferral from the library,
passed without the Library Board's approval I might add. We sense, that in
light of growing opposition, some councillors are rethinking their support
for passing this bylaw.
******

Therefore, there is still a chance to do something! We are organizing
a rally in front of City Hall between 5:30 and 7:00pm, March 13th (this
coming Monday).

Here is an explanation of tax incremental financing

[ 10 March 2006: Message edited by: Tim ]


From: Paris of the Prairies | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 13 March 2006 12:58 AM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Bump.

I hope to see some babblin' Saskatudlians at the rally tomorrow.


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 13 March 2006 10:36 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, the turnout was better than I had expected. The usual suspects were present, and we had far more media out than has been the case for similar events.

My core temperature is finally getting back to normal...


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
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posted 13 March 2006 10:46 PM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I guess I could see the argument that without this development, there would never be tax revenue from it for the library, and this will create funding 15 years down the road for the library...

Don't bet on it. Every study demonstrates big boxes eat more tax dollars than they generate in revenue. Extra costs are associated with traffic control and police calls to parking lots (where crime is higher) and inside the store. There is also hidden costs associated with addiional air pollution and water pollution from increased traffic and parking lot run-off. That is just for starters.

It should be demanded that a cost benefit study be conducted on big box retail before any more are approved.

Can you imagine if you worked in the private sector and long term land use and investments were made on the basis of belief (i.e. "I believe ..." or "I feel ...") as opposed to cold, hard analysis?

But that is exactly how decisions are made at most city councils. They make statements of belief based on nothing but lobbyist assurances.


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Cartman
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posted 13 March 2006 10:56 PM      Profile for Cartman        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by chester the prairie shark:
oh and heywood, i live on haultain, 2 blocks east of clarence and south of taylor. stop over next time you're in town.
Good luck. I couldn't even get him out to meet at a Calgary pub.

From: Bring back Audra!!!!! | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
chester the prairie shark
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posted 13 March 2006 11:12 PM      Profile for chester the prairie shark     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
cartman, maybe heywood needs to keep cyberspace between him and those who profess to be progressive We should talk, nikita and i tried to talk some saskatoon babblers into a beer....nada.

Al-Q, i assume you didn't stay to watch the vote, unless you are posting from your PDA. i guess i could run down stairs and see if they have voted on the bylaw yet.


From: Saskatoon | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Cartman
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posted 14 March 2006 01:00 AM      Profile for Cartman        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thread drift

Heywood has actually come out before, but forgot to in August. I figured if I just razzed him enough, that he would come out next time.

That's a shame you couldn't get people together for a brew or two.

[ 14 March 2006: Message edited by: Cartman ]


From: Bring back Audra!!!!! | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
HeywoodFloyd
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posted 14 March 2006 01:07 AM      Profile for HeywoodFloyd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh like I have to be razzed to booze up. The Alberta PC convention is at the end of the month so I expect to be drunk for several days standing.
From: Edmonton: This place sucks | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Cartman
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posted 14 March 2006 01:13 AM      Profile for Cartman        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by HeywoodFloyd:
Oh like I have to be razzed to booze up. The Alberta PC convention is at the end of the month so I expect to be drunk for several days standing.
Heywood, please read the babble rules again carefully. It is inappropriate to cut and paste an entire statement made by someone else (especially Ralph Klein).

From: Bring back Audra!!!!! | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Diane Demorney
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posted 14 March 2006 10:13 AM      Profile for Diane Demorney   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Continuing thread drift... when ARE we Calgary babblers meeting again? Ran into Guy Cybershy at Safeway before Christmas; he was interested.
From: Calgary | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
chester the prairie shark
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posted 14 March 2006 10:24 AM      Profile for chester the prairie shark     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
harrumph! Just like Calgary to hijack a thread about Saskatoon! its all about you..... kidding, kidding.
From: Saskatoon | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
chester the prairie shark
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posted 14 March 2006 10:36 AM      Profile for chester the prairie shark     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
oh and the interchange goes ahead but the library tax won't be used to finance it.
From: Saskatoon | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Nikita
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posted 14 March 2006 10:47 AM      Profile for Nikita     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Damn it! I missed the rally!

Did any babblers attend? I didn't even get to watch the suppertime news to see if there was any coverage.


From: Regina | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
chester the prairie shark
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posted 14 March 2006 10:49 AM      Profile for chester the prairie shark     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Al-Q did.
From: Saskatoon | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Tim
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posted 14 March 2006 10:54 AM      Profile for Tim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Star-Phoenix story

It's bad news and marginally good news - development goes ahead, they're still using the incremental tax scheme with municipal taxes (the implications of which still aren't quite clear), but the library taxes won't be affected.


From: Paris of the Prairies | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
jrootham
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posted 14 March 2006 11:23 AM      Profile for jrootham     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
The Alberta PC convention is at the end of the month so I expect to be drunk for several days standing.

Heywood, if you are standing you are obviously not drunk enough.


From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 14 March 2006 12:06 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Deep Dish:
I dunno about Saskatoon, but the big box retailers have turned East Regina into a totally soulless place and they are building as fast as possible in the northwest.

I am wondering who is buying all this stuff for all these huge retailers.


In Regina, the big box retailers get a handsome break on their property taxes by being classed as "warehouses" on the outskirts of town instead of as "retail stores" closer to the middle of the city. Kind of a combination of zoning and store type, if I understand it correctly. That's one reason that Superstore closed the central store and built way out at the city limits -- and they won't sell the central property to anybody who might compete, so the store just sits empty. Nothing like contributing to inner-city blight AND urban sprawl all at the same time, eh?

I'm glad the Saskatoon libraries aren't taking a tax hit -- the group that successfully fought "big boxing" the Regina Public Library system (Friends of the RPL) wrote some letters in support.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 14 March 2006 11:54 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by chester the prairie shark:
harrumph! Just like Calgary to hijack a thread about Saskatoon! its all about you..... kidding, kidding.

I took a trip to Edmonton last summer. While driving around that city I thought that Saskatoon's city planners must have "Edmonton Envy," as what I saw in Edmonton seemed to be growing in Saskatoon.

A couple of days ago I was talking to a colleague who grew up in Edmonton. She told me she moved here because Saskatoon was unique, and not like Edmonton.

Her reason for moving here is being erased by those Chamber of Commerce gnomes on city council.

Mayor Atchison should be made Saskatoon's Town Greeter.


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged

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