Don Atchison, Charlie Clark share duelling plans to boost Saskatoon’s economy

SASKATOON —
On Friday, two Saskatoon mayoral candidates — who have both held the office — released their divergent plans on how to grow the city’s economy.

Don Atchison started his economic announcement on Friday morning, standing in opposition to a 2021 property tax increase and a bus rapid transit (BRT) system. 

During a media availability at his Eighth Street East campaign office, Atchison said a BRT is too expensive and would only create short-term jobs. 

“If you build a rink downtown, a multi-entertainment facility downtown, instead — the impact on the community would be unbelievable compared to spending the same of money on a BRT system,” Atchison, who was mayor from 2003 to 2016. 

Opposite to Atchison, incumbent Charlie Clark supports building a BRT system. He wants to “prepare our transportation system for the future.” 

Part of Clark’s economic plan includes creating an electric car charging network and expanding solar energy in the city. 

“This is where Wayne Gretzky and the economy come together. Go to where the puck is going, not where the puck has been,” Clark said during a media event at his campaign office located on Second Avenue South. 

Part of Clark’s economic plan focuses on the agriculture and tech sector.

Clark wants to work with the University of Saskatchewan to build a food processing hub, and a tech accelerator to help grow companies.

“We have what the rest of the world needs. We need to make sure the rest of the world knows this,” Clark told reporters. 

Atchison critiqued Clark’s term as mayor. He said there have been too many meetings, panels and studies. 

“We don’t need blue-ribbon panels. We need action,” Atchison said. 

“I’m prepared to get my suitcase and fly anywhere in the world to bring business back here.”

Over the short-term, to help businesses recover from COVID-19, Clark also wants to make sure events and activities are planned through the winter. 

“We need to support hotels and restaurants while doing it safely,” Clark said.

Voters hit the polls Nov. 9. 

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