Council committee to discuss next steps for Saskatoon compost, solar power projects – Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

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Members of Saskatoon city council’s environment, utilities and corporate services committee will be asked on Tuesday to endorse proposals for a pair of projects with a combined price tag of just over $30 million.


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Council last month voted 6-5 to direct city staff to continue to pursue a city-owned composting facility as the solution for waste collected by the green bin program rolled out last year.

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The material was originally to be processed at a facility to be constructed south of the city, but the private firm awarded the contract couldn’t get approval from the RM of Corman Park to build it.

City staff have stated that a city-built facility near the current landfill would save taxpayers $1.5 million each year compared to the current contract the city has with Loraas.

This month, the committee is being asked to approve the creation of a capital project, allowing city planners to begin more detailed engineering and design work meant to allow construction to proceed in 2025, with the facility to be operational by 2026.

The $22.1 million cost would be funded through borrowing, which would need to be approved at a public hearing.


City staff recommend borrowing and dipping into reserve funds to allow all phases of a planned solar farm near the Montgomery neighbourhood to proceed, rather than trimming the scope of the project.

The Dundonald Avenue solar farm project has been in the works for several years. The land has been set aside since 2017 and the plan to build the solar farm was presented to council in 2021 as a way to help the city work toward a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent below 2014 levels by 2050.

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Installation of the solar array has since been delayed as staff worked on other items, such as a landfill gas collection and power generation facility, and a proposed power plant for St. Paul’s hospital — a project that was later abandoned by the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

City staff have since reported that the project would need to be scaled back to stay within its original $4.39 million budget, which includes around $2.6 million from other levels of government.

The committee is instead being asked to recommend to council an additional $4.07 million in funding to allow all three phases of the project to be constructed. This would bring the total project budget to just under $8.5 million. The additional funds would come in the form of a $1.84 million withdrawal from a reserve fund and $2.23 million in borrowing.

City planners estimate that the city’s portion of the project funds would be recovered within 16 years, based on around $450,000 in annual savings expected to accrue from Saskatoon Light and Power’s reduced bulk purchases of electricity from SaskPower.

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