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  #1  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2020, 8:23 PM
Ricopedra Ricopedra is offline
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Saskatoon Core Living vs the Suburbs

The main Saskatoon construction thread has repeatedly reminded us to focus upon construction topics only, even though Saskatoon posters rarely have more than 2 posts a day, on average, on any topic.

I personally feel we could cover a broad range of topics within that one construction thread, as we've been doing for a long time. Let's face it. We've got a lot of dead time. However, voices speak, and it seems we must subdivide our topics and create more precise threads.

My fear is that with Saskatoon being so especially small in the world of construction, so many new threads on other topics will just confuse posters and everyone will get lost in...threads. How's the mod going to handle it all? We're just a growing town. We don't need a shuffleboard here. We don't need another subdivision;>)

Anyway, here's my thread, because it's not about construction (but it is) and it's not about government services (but it is sometimes). It's not about private handouts (but it could be) and it's not about public handouts (which sometimes happen). It's about all of these elements and more. It's about life in the downtown core specifically, compared to the suburbs. Please feel free to post any comments or experiences you have about either lifestyle and what makes it wonderful. That's what can help move us forward. Cheers, All!
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Old Posted Nov 22, 2020, 8:39 PM
Ricopedra Ricopedra is offline
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I would like to start with the explosion of housing that'll soon be happening around 25th and 5th. Along with the 50 stories of housing from Baydo, we might be getting another 19 stories from Meridian a little later in the pipeline.

This will usher in a massive amount of people into North Downtown, providing many folks the opportunity for new jobs servicing these residents. For sure there'll be a new falafel house, and I'm ready to place my order! Then it's next door for a pint. I won't have to drive because I can walk home.
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Old Posted Nov 22, 2020, 9:16 PM
Ricopedra Ricopedra is offline
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So anyway, with more residents comes diversity. But this is only true downtown. In the suburbs, it's very important that you conform to your neighbours expectations or there'll be hell to pay. Example: You buy a new house by a lake trail. Everyone has a grass yard with a black iron fence. You want to put up a 6ft wooden fence for privacy. Good luck, black sheep!>) Nevertheless, folks get around it by planting extra trees.

Now Downtown. Some downtown residents, roryn1 especially, have had horrible experiences with violence and attacks upon their personal safety, even more than once. But once would be enough for anyone, wherever it may happen in greater Saskatoon. But there have been several murders and drug overdoses in Martensville, Warman, Sutherland, Lakeview, or wherever.

The problem with downtown is it's more random when it happens, if it happens, because of the density. But you're also safer, usually, cause all you've got to do is scream and help will be on its way.
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Old Posted Nov 22, 2020, 9:31 PM
Ricopedra Ricopedra is offline
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Hopefully....

I have visited friends living downtown over many years. My brother lived on 4th and 24th. None of us have had a serious problem, ever. Sure, maybe we're lucky.

Here's a little recent exchange between me and a local high-rise downtown resident:

The View has everything included in the condo fees for utilities. Power/water/heat. Most condos don’t include power, so it’s very reasonable. There’s more crime downtown than the suburbs, but I’ve always felt safe. With no incidents in 10 years. Mostly young professionals & older demographic in the downtown condos I find.

Hey, Mate! Thanks for the update. I've always felt the same. I went to school in dt Vancouver at the film school, right on Hastings. I rarely felt worried there! It's perception more than reality, or who you hang with;>) I'll contact you again if I'm in the market. Cheers!

Exactly. Ok sounds good. Enjoy your weekend!

I don't know what to say to you guys getting hassled on the street all the time.
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  #5  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2020, 11:04 PM
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I think the choice between downtown, core neighbourhoods, suburbs and bedroom communities all comes down to personal preference and one's circumstances such as family size and work location.

While there seems to be a preference for downtown living amongst most on this forum, it's not a one size fits all solution. For someone that works downtown or from home, downtown can be a great choice, so long as it works with their family situation. Core neighbourhoods may work well for those who use public transit to travel to a job that doesn't require them to come and go to other places throughout the work day. People who have larger families and desire large yards are probably looking to the burbs and bedroom communities. Similarly, for those that use an office or worksite simply as a base during the day and travel about the city are likely going to drive themselves to work, so whether their commute is 5 minutes or 25 minutes may be of little concern to them, especially if they can get more house & yard for their money further from the city centre.

I fall into the last category (large family & lots of workday travel) and have no doubt that our bedroom community was the right choice for our family. Now that our children are all adults and living on their own, I would definitely consider moving to a downtown condo. My wife, on the other hand, would not, so that's not happening. Like I said before - family considerations....
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Old Posted Nov 24, 2020, 4:27 PM
hunter12 hunter12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crisis View Post
I think the choice between downtown, core neighbourhoods, suburbs and bedroom communities all comes down to personal preference and one's circumstances such as family size and work location.

While there seems to be a preference for downtown living amongst most on this forum, it's not a one size fits all solution. For someone that works downtown or from home, downtown can be a great choice, so long as it works with their family situation. Core neighbourhoods may work well for those who use public transit to travel to a job that doesn't require them to come and go to other places throughout the work day. People who have larger families and desire large yards are probably looking to the burbs and bedroom communities. Similarly, for those that use an office or worksite simply as a base during the day and travel about the city are likely going to drive themselves to work, so whether their commute is 5 minutes or 25 minutes may be of little concern to them, especially if they can get more house & yard for their money further from the city centre.

I fall into the last category (large family & lots of workday travel) and have no doubt that our bedroom community was the right choice for our family. Now that our children are all adults and living on their own, I would definitely consider moving to a downtown condo. My wife, on the other hand, would not, so that's not happening. Like I said before - family considerations....
Well said. I think you hit the nail on the head about making choices that meet your family wants and needs.

I built a new house in the suburbs 22 years ago. Wanted something with all the features we desired and wanted to be in a neighbourhood with lots of young families so we built. I could commute to downtown and anywhere on the east side in 10 to 15 minutes and anywhere in the city in under 25 minutes. I am now at the stage where I am thinking about downsizing from my two story house but we are far from been ready to move to a condo. I am entertaining a move to a bungalow and would love to move into the core areas (ie Broadway or University) but I have yet to find anything close to "checking enough boxes" to consider moving at this time. Maybe some day.
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  #7  
Old Posted Nov 24, 2020, 5:36 PM
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The commutes in Saskatoon are indistinguishable now from 20 years ago. In 2000, Saskatoon was very much a 15 minute city. Now, neighborhoods like Evergreen or Aspen Ridge are 30+ minutes in rush hour.

The addition of 100,000 extra cars on the road every day is very much impacting people's choices of where to live.
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Old Posted Nov 24, 2020, 6:18 PM
Ricopedra Ricopedra is offline
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Thanks, Crisis, for that informative response with your personal example, and yours, Hunter12. jigglysquishy, I think you meant to say commutes are different now. But as you point out, the expanding city and thus commute times is where the choice between core and outskirts will become more of a bigger city decision for locals.

I think the reason the latest condo development downtown failed is because for the same money for a unit in Highpoint you could buy a very luxurious 4 bedroom detached home with yard and garage about fifteen minutes from DT. The view and convenience is the best, but it wasn't worth the size or price for local folks. A development like Highpoint usually would have a high percentage of international buyers, snowbirds or investors. Then again, if the $700k units were $500k and so on, they'd have hit it out of the park. Was the build that expensive, or was it greed? Or like some locals have commented, just plain poor design?

I have a friend who lives in a beautiful old house with a nice big yard near Bedford Road, but no kids, and compare that to one living in Martensville, with three kids. The city location is much more stimulating and convenient, but you won't get the same neighbours for a young family, necessarily. Then again, maybe it's not more convenient. Damn. This is what I'm trying to figure out with this thread. If you don't care about your surroundings and just want to access things with your car, maybe life by a highway is better.

There is the need for space, especially with young children, especially with many young children, and two cars, skidoos, a boat, a motorcycle, and so on. There's no way a family of this size can live downtown, really, or would want to. You also have to live next to or near other similar families for play dates and whatever.

Let's face it, Saskatoon is a great place to have a family and raise children. I'm just wondering, because when I visit one of these big families - and there are three in my family at the moment - I'm exhausted after about two hours and relieved to walk out the door. Massive house, big yard, every toy imaginable for both child and adult. But is it all really necessary? It's a lot of fun and we're free to do, build, and buy as we please, but it seems like people buy on a whim, quickly lose interest in their new purchase and then even rent storage space to contain their excess items. If you know anyone with a two car garage but they can only park one car inside, you know what I'm talking about. Insane.

I think a great insight into the priorities and desires of Saskatonians is in the prizes offered by the numerous home lotteries in town. The grand prize is always a large new million$home in the newest suburb/neighbourhood, with the second prize usually a 'cabin' home at a lake. One lottery has begun targeting infill properties in the core and is meeting with success, selling out the last time. I wonder if the big lotteries will ever consider as their second prize a brand new condo in a downtown tower?
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Old Posted Nov 24, 2020, 6:56 PM
Ricopedra Ricopedra is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jigglysquishy View Post
The commutes in Saskatoon are indistinguishable now from 20 years ago. In 2000, Saskatoon was very much a 15 minute city. Now, neighborhoods like Evergreen or Aspen Ridge are 30+ minutes in rush hour.

The addition of 100,000 extra cars on the road every day is very much impacting people's choices of where to live.
This is the biggest problem we have as a growing city. It's been proven in every study ever done that one of the largest wastes and increases of our tax dollars is to roadway infrastructure to expand volume. No matter how many lanes wide you build a road, no matter how many over and under passes you build, the more convenient it is to drive, the faster every inch of lane space fills up with new drivers. A city without the infrastructure of public transit will soon choke on its own autos. People will soon be driving into work from Duck Lake and hitting a 10-lane freeway outside Osler. Haha. I kid. Right?
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  #10  
Old Posted Nov 24, 2020, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Ricopedra View Post
Let's face it, Saskatoon is a great place to have a family and raise children. I'm just wondering, because when I visit one of these big families - and there are three in my family at the moment - I'm exhausted after about two hours and relieved to walk out the door. Massive house, big yard, every toy imaginable for both child and adult. But is it all really necessary? It's a lot of fun and we're free to do, build, and buy as we please, but it seems like people buy on a whim, quickly lose interest in their new purchase and then even rent storage space to contain their excess items. If you know anyone with a two car garage but they can only park one car inside, you know what I'm talking about. Insane.
Good discussion. I think you've identified a key driver for the big home in the burbs or even further outside the city's core. But is it all really necessary? Definitely not, in my opinion. However, the definition of what is necessary continues to change as society changes. There are all kinds of consumer goods that are now considered necessities that were definitely luxuries 50 years ago.

We're far more of a consumer society now, driven by immediate wants (needs is pretty subjective) and seemingly unfamiliar with the concept of saving for something until you can pay for it. Life is now lived on credit. I know I'm generalizing, but expectations of what is necessary for a comfortable life may be outpacing our ability to afford it. However, I do see a change among many people in their early 30s & younger that are happy with a fairly "simple" life. Whether that changes if/when they have children remains to be seen.
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  #11  
Old Posted Nov 24, 2020, 11:52 PM
Ricopedra Ricopedra is offline
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I know there's been a push to develop the North downtown industrial lands - still hinging on the railroads and the arena announcement, and the movement of the civic yards. What happened to the developer who made an offer, I think from Vancouver?

But there was also talk about the university releasing a massive plot of land east of their student housing. Is there any movement, or any update on this?

That was the plan. In any case, would folks be willing to live here or there, East or West? I think... absolutely.

We've got the best possible cases of infill of any town in North America. Roll the cameras!
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  #12  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2020, 4:42 PM
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I believe that density is good, sprawl is unsustainable, climate change is an existential threat, and we will have no choice but to change how we build and live in our cities.

As such, we moved from an outer neighbourhood to City Park in 1995. We wanted the ability to walk downtown and to the University, and easy access to the Meewasin trail. For the most part we have been happy with that decision, and I have walked or cycled to work for 25 years. We went from 2 cars to 1, and saved an absolute ton of money over the years as a result.

I have to say, through, that the number of sketchy people prowling around has skyrocketed in the last few years. After 20 years of no issues at all, in the last couple years we had multiple attempted breakins (several successful) resulting in lots of property damage. There is constant theft from our yard. There are regularly people stumbling around or passed out in the alley... even once on our front steps! Graffiti has exploded like a cancer. I witness constant drug dealing. I feel the neighbourhood is on a trajectory that is not good, and for the first time in my life I have begun to feel a bit unsafe when walking to/from work, especially when its dark.
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Old Posted Nov 25, 2020, 6:42 PM
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I like having a separate thread for this discussion, Ricopedra, even if it leans a little hypothetical.

As various users have pointed out, where you live is all a matter of personal choice. Unfortunately, that choice has dire consequences. From the human aspect (increased spending on new roads, sewer lines, fire halls, schools, etc. means taking money away from something else) to the environment (driving vs. walking, food producing farmland is swallowed up by new neighbourhoods) living in a small, energy efficient apartment is objectively a better choice for everyone except, maybe, the individual making that choice. Even if all these variables were considered by a potential suburb home buyer I assume his/her logic would be similar to someone choosing not to vote: "I'm one person, what difference can I really make?". It'll take a complete 180-degree cultural turn in Saskatoon for people to stop dreaming of their lifted truck and house in Stonebridge, and I don't see that happening anytime soon.
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Old Posted Nov 25, 2020, 8:38 PM
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Thanks alt center and FarmerHaight for your feedback.

alt_center, that really sucks that the riff-raff are now even upon your doorstep, literally on your property, and you feel helpless to deal with them. Especially when you're the kind of dude we need downtown, like roryn1, too.

It seems like the police are doing nothing to patrol, answer calls or help folks deal with the ballooning problem of drug addicts and dreavers, even though they're just a few blocks away. Typical. But at the same time they're told to keep their hands off people just minding their time. Kid gloves on an addict is time-consuming and not well thought out. Are you guys aware of a police policy on homeless people, drug addicts, or transients that prohibits them from answering your calls for assistance?

What about in winter? Don't these nefarious folks disappear to somewhere warmer? Is there no respite for you guys? Why are they being attracted to City Park, a neighbourhood of mostly single detached homes? I don't get it. If they're there to break in, where's your community watch patrols? Beat these fackers out of your hood instead of whining, not saying you are or aren't, but, hey, it's your hood. Get together with your neighbours and put in a little time to make your hood a little better. And then all of a sudden it's way better than ever before. That's what they do in the suburbs! Haha.
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Old Posted Nov 25, 2020, 8:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Ricopedra View Post
Thanks alt center and FarmerHaight for your feedback.

alt_center, that really sucks that the riff-raff are now even upon your doorstep, literally on your property, and you feel helpless to deal with them. Especially when you're the kind of dude we need downtown, like roryn1, too.

It seems like the police are doing nothing to patrol, answer calls or help folks deal with the ballooning problem of drug addicts and dreavers, even though they're just a few blocks away. Typical. But at the same time they're told to keep their hands off people just minding their time. Kid gloves on an addict is time-consuming and not well thought out. Are you guys aware of a police policy on homeless people, drug addicts, or transients that prohibits them from answering your calls for assistance?

What about in winter? Don't these nefarious folks disappear to somewhere warmer? Is there no respite for you guys? Why are they being attracted to City Park, a neighbourhood of mostly single detached homes? I don't get it. If they're there to break in, where's your community watch patrols? Beat these fackers out of your hood instead of whining, not saying you are or aren't, but, hey, it's your hood. Get together with your neighbours and put in a little time to make your hood a little better. And then all of a sudden it's way better than ever before. That's what they do in the suburbs! Haha.
Don't get me wrong. I don't mean to whine and I still think City Park is a great neighbourhood. Just reporting my humble opinion regarding the trends I see.... which I am not sure are any worse than other neighbourhoods. And yes, winter seems to help, but I will often see footprints into my back yard and up to the door after a fresh snow!
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Old Posted Nov 25, 2020, 9:02 PM
Ricopedra Ricopedra is offline
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Hey guys, if any of you can pm me specific instances of your confrontations with street folks, thieves, and drug addicts, that were not addressed by the police, I'll deal with them. roryn1, alt_center, please send me dates and specifics and I'll pass this information on to local authorities I know. Don't accept this degradation of your neighbourhood. Stand up for it and make it what it should be, the best damn hood in Saskatoon! City Park, are you kidding me?
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Old Posted Nov 25, 2020, 9:18 PM
Ricopedra Ricopedra is offline
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Well, Nutana and all up along University Drive ain't bad, either. Never mind.
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  #18  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2020, 4:38 PM
hunter12 hunter12 is offline
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Happiness

Quote:
Originally Posted by FarmerHaight View Post
I like having a separate thread for this discussion, Ricopedra, even if it leans a little hypothetical.

As various users have pointed out, where you live is all a matter of personal choice. Unfortunately, that choice has dire consequences. From the human aspect (increased spending on new roads, sewer lines, fire halls, schools, etc. means taking money away from something else) to the environment (driving vs. walking, food producing farmland is swallowed up by new neighbourhoods) living in a small, energy efficient apartment is objectively a better choice for everyone except, maybe, the individual making that choice. Even if all these variables were considered by a potential suburb home buyer I assume his/her logic would be similar to someone choosing not to vote: "I'm one person, what difference can I really make?". It'll take a complete 180-degree cultural turn in Saskatoon for people to stop dreaming of their lifted truck and house in Stonebridge, and I don't see that happening anytime soon.
In a book I recently read one chapter was dedicated to happiness. Happiness doesn't care how you get there. Find and do the things that make you happy (and remember money does not buy happiness).

For me, living in a small apartment at this point in my life would not bring me happiness. We love our house and its beautiful yard and garden. We love having some space and hosting family and friends (pre pandemic). We own a truck and camper and love going to the lake in the summer. We find happiness in all of this. We love to bike or walk the Meewasin trails, I'm sure others don't. We love to golf, others don't. We love to take a winter holiday (not this year), others don't. What makes us happy does not necessarily make others happy.

So, we all have our reasons for the personal choices we make. I for one, do not feel a shred of guilt because others don't agree with the choices I have made.

Having said all this, some day when maintaining my house and pulling a camper to the lake no longer brings me happiness I might be ready for that small apartment and 3 months in Arizona. What makes me happy has continuously changed as I have moved through life and will continue to change.

So, check in with me in 25 years. I'll likely be living in that condo and will have sold my truck.
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Old Posted Nov 26, 2020, 7:32 PM
saskatoonborn saskatoonborn is offline
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Count me as a +1 to hunter12's post. Couldn't have said it better.
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Old Posted Nov 27, 2020, 7:12 PM
Ricopedra Ricopedra is offline
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hunter12, thanks for your input. All the things you cherish are important, and you're right, they will fade away. But right now they're important.

Why live in 550sft when you can live in 3800sft? And family size is important. A family of 4 in 1000sqft is hard to do here, even though it's a luxury in most parts of the world.

As we edge through our fazes of life we are first hip and then expendable, even within our families. The worst thing is the cleanup the kids are left with.

Never mind. There's usually some cash and property of some value they can fight over.

But as we slowly get there, it's very important we enjoy ourselves to the fullest and not think about the end. We're vibrant and alive. Until we're not.

Absolutely believe that you're having the time of your life and enjoy your time. But when the sales folk says this house is forever, you've gotta know better.

Last edited by Ricopedra; Nov 27, 2020 at 8:01 PM.
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