Road closure not a ‘slam dunk’
City council is expected to decide next month whether to close part of Spadina Crescent West, which would affect people who use the road to commute in and out of the city from the southwest.
The city administration recommends the move as part of efforts to improve the security of the water treatment plant in the King George neighbourhood at the intersection of 11th Street West, and where Spadina Crescent West becomes Avenue H South. The plant, which has infrastructure on both sides of Avenue H South, was assessed by Public Safety Canada last year.
Coun. Randy Donauer, who chairs city council’s transportation committee, said it was “made very clear” that the city needs to do more to improve the security of the facility.
“Their view is there’s not a water treatment plant in North America that has a city street going through half of it and that’s unacceptable,” Donauer said. “We need to take some reasonable precautions to eliminate most of the risks and, at this point, I’m feeling vulnerable and so I think it’s probably for certain that something needs to be done.”
City administration recommends closing the intersection at Avenue H South and 11th Street West. That area will eventually be turned over to the water treatment plant, which will build a concrete wall around the entirety of its infrastructure, Donauer said.
The administration is concerned that if Spadina Crescent West remains open once that section of Avenue H South is closed, traffic coming into the city will go through the King George neighbourhood along roads that were not built to handle such high traffic volumes. A city study found that about 600 vehicles a day used Spadina Crescent south of Avenue H in 2014.
If the closure happens, commuters will have to use Valley Road instead. Donauer attended an RM of Corman Park council meeting this month to answer questions about the situation.
Residents of Corman Park “are very concerned about the closure of this street because it’s a very nice drive into the city,” Donauer said. “I don’t think any of us wants to close Spadina, but I think we have to deal with the safety issue.”
Since appearing at the Corman Park meeting, Donauer said he has heard from Saskatoon and Corman Park residents who both support and oppose the closure.
Donauer wants people with concerns to attend council’s public meeting on May 23, when councillors are expected to vote on the fate of the roadway. He anticipates a “lively debate,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s a slam dunk. This isn’t just the RM. My understanding is there’s going to be some residents down in that west corner of Saskatoon, in that area, that aren’t going to be too happy with it either.”