Thursday, March 15, 2007

Remai Ventures shows 'callous disregard' for heritage; Mayor Don Atchison 'stubbornly insists' on private hotel development at River Landing

Move to raze Legion Building shows disregard for heritage

The StarPhoenix

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sickening is the only way to describe the decision by Remai Ventures to proceed with demolishing the historic downtown Legion Building, even though Remai's hotel-spa development is shelved and it has no plans for the site.

Such callous disregard for Saskatoon's irreplaceable history is shocking and irresponsible. Mayor Don Atchison, who I think never has shown any interest in Saskatoon's heritage, says the legion property has nothing to do with the city.

As chair of council's executive committee, he presided over a June 2004 closed-door meeting when the city decided against establishing a veterans' museum in the Legion Building. There was no public debate and the city was never held accountable.

Atchison's comments only magnify how out of touch he is and how little vision he has for the south downtown.

The Saskatoon Hotels Association and chamber of commerce say the downtown can't support another hotel. Remai says it's not viable, and the VPMI Hotel Group pulled out of the request for proposal process at the last minute because lenders questioned the need for another hotel.

After all this, Atchison's tunnel vision remains as he stubbornly insists the land must be sold and a hotel built on River Landing.

The SP must share responsibility for this ugly mess. Through the end of 2003 and all of 2004, it acted like council's cheerleader as it applauded nearly every rushed decision, regardless of how ridiculous and destructive they were. We lost the historic Gathercole building and are about to lose the Legion building, with nothing to show for it.

River Landing is a disaster. It's time council stepped-up, revisited its concept plan and ask citizens what they would like to see happen.

Jim Wilson

©The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2007

Scuttled hotel-spa project best thing for River Landing

The StarPhoenix

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Remai’s withdrawal from the proposed hotel-spa development on River Landing is the best thing that could have happened.

A ghastly mistake has been stopped dead in its tracks and city council is free to sit back and give the matter some sober second thought.

Council now has the advantage of a splendid beginning. What has been done is exciting and has caught the imagination of the public. Alas! It seems there are some councillors intent on screwing it up.

The people to whom I talk don’t want to see that beautiful setting serve as a stopping place for transients. Neither do they want to see a soaring tower straining to do for Saskatoon what the Opera House has done for Sydney.

All of the River Landing should belong to all of us, and we should all be free to come and go as we please to make use of its various facilities. No one should be privileged to live there and the only workers should be those who are there to serve the public.

Is tax revenue the key to this development? How much in tax revenue does the city receive for those magnificent church buildings that dominate the riverbank between 19th and 25th streets?

Conrad A. Romuld

©The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2007


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