City councillors voted unanimously against a Nordic spa development in the Willows neighbourhood.
Scandvik Hotels proposed a Scandinavian boutique hotel and spa be built in the neighbourhood, owned by Dream Developments.
The adults-only spa would feature multiple outdoor plunge pools, saunas and massage rooms.
But the concept plan application was voted down by all city councillors and the mayor during a special Tuesday meeting — convened after debate concerning the development ran late Monday night.
While Ward 5. Coun. Randy Donauer voted against the application, he said development is vital for the city’s growth.
“If we put our developers in a situation where they’re going to lose money or develop in a way that is not feasible. We won’t have development in Saskatoon and that’s very concerning to me,” Donauer said in the meeting, before the vote.
Donauer urged residents in the Willows to “re-examine their positions.”
Some homeowners in the Willows were worried their view and the tranquility of the area would be wrecked by traffic from the hotel and spa.
Bonnie Hataley, a resident in the Willows, said she’s pleased with the outcome.
“We are very, very grateful that the city councillor, and the planning and the mayor have listened and heard us, and have taken our thoughts into consideration,” she said.
Dream Development’s lack of communication and community engagement was addressed before the vote.
“Because of that dissonance, it was very difficult for me, and I think for other councillors, to find a way forward within what had come to us as part of the proposal,” said Ward 7 Coun. Mairin Loewen, who represents the ward the Willows is in.
Hataley said nobody in her building, located on the edge of the area proposed for development, was consulted.
“No one in our building was contacted for their opinions on what we could do or what kind of a compromise we could come to,” Hataley told CTV News.
Mayor Charlie Clark echoed Donauer’s concern about a potential lack of growth in the Willows.
“What I find difficult about this hearing in many ways is, and I’ve seen this in neighbourhoods, where once people decide they don’t like something, there can be very little room to find solutions,” Clark said.
Hataley says she has devised alternative plans for the development to be moved to a decentralized location in the Willows.
“There could be some things considered, such as making the commercial development out in that North parcel,” Hataley said.
Hataley says plans like that demonstrate a willingness to accept change and compromise in the Willows.
Darryl Dawson, the city’s development review manager, said the idea for the development could come back to city hall.
“At some point they may be brought back again in the future with a revised plan,” Dawson said.
Neither Dream Developments or Scandvik Hotels returned CTV News’ request for comment.