Bert Wellman, City Planner Saskatoon
A Green City
Herbert Edgar. Wellman, FCIP (d) (July 2, 1930 Asquith, SK – October 19, 2014 Saskatoon, SK). Bert was born in Saskatchewan, spending just a portion of his youth here. His parents returned to England when Bert was just 11 years old where Wellman grew up with a brother and sister in Weymouth, Dorset, United Kingdom. Bert graduated from the University of London, with a BA Honours degree in geography. From there, he entered the City of Saskatoon Engineering Department in 1952. In 1963, Wellman was the City Planner and then Director of Planning and Development until 1987, Wellman worked as Director until he became Director of Special Projects which he worked at until he retired. In Stonebridge, Wellman Crescent and Wellman Lane are named in his honour recognizing his 36 years with the City of Saskatoon.
Wellman worked with eight City of Saskatoon mayors during his career with the city of Saskatoon.
1949 – 1953 J.S. Mills
1954 – 1958 J.D. McAskill
1958 – 1963 S.L. Buckwold
1964 – P.C. Klaehn
1965 – 1966 E.J. Cole
1967 – 1971 S.L. Buckwold
1972 – 1976 H.S. Sears
1976 – 1988 Clifford E. Wright
Between 1955, and 1988, the city of Saskatoon changed in physical size increasing from a city of just 8,144.1 acres by 326.55% to a city of 34,7383.6 acres.
Some of the neighbourhoods which were annexed into the city of Saskatoon over this window of time were;
- CN Industrial
- Confederation Suburban Centre
- Massey Place
- Airport Industrial
- South Nutana
- East College Park
- River Heights 2
- Pacific Heights
- Hudson Bay Industrial
- Hampton Village
- Marquis Industrial
- Silverwood Suburban Centre
- Lawson Heights
- Willow Grove
- Silverwood Heights
- University Heights Suburban Centre
- Arbor Creek
- Montgomery Extension
- Lakewood SDA
In 1954, the new City Hall started construction.Sutherland merged with the city in 1956. The University Hospital opens in 1956 along with the new City Hall at its current location. In 1957, the city expands north, and the City annexes lands to include the University of Saskatchewan grounds in 1959. This same year Aden Bowman Collegiate Institute opens followed by Mount Royal Collegiate the next year.
“In 1960, the last steam-powered locomotive chuffed its way through Saskatoon. By the end of the decade, the electric trolley buses that had replaced the old streetcars were poised to also become things of the past…With the increasing number of automobiles, came an ever pressing need for more bridges and for a highway bypass system such as had been first proposed by Yorath in 1913. The original plan had been to build bridges on the north and south edges of the city, linked by the present-day Circle Drive. This project was shelved in favour of a down town re-vitalization plan that would see the southern leg of Circle Drive veer north along the old CNR right of way and cross into down town or what is not the Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge.”O’Brien
A green belt for the city starts with Bert Wellman, Saskatoon Planning Department, who walked around Saskatoon’s perimeter choosing high spots of land for scenic beauty. Together with City Planner Bill Graham they worked on parkways and planted trees for the 1960 Circle Drive Parkway at these sites. There was a vision for a green city. As natural as a hound dog takes to a scent, so to was Wellman, a natural at envisioning the future of Saskatoon.
Following the second World War, William Eadington Graham, began his urban planner career in 1946 as Director of Planning for Armagh County in Northern Ireland. He then signed on with the City of Saskatoon in 1953 as the first Director of Planning before moving on to become the Director of Planning for the City of Vancouver Bill Graham attended Durham University where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees with Distinction in architecture followed by urban planning. W.E. Graham park in Nutana, Saskatoon was so designated in his honour.
So, Wellman, and Graham, decided that in 1960 the following lands should be purchased;
1. Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area (City of Saskatoon Urban Regional Park) Parts Section 22 and SW 23 township 36 range 6 west of the third meridian. (East of the CN overpass on SK highway 7) SE 22 & SW 23-36-6 W3 under MVA conservation management.
2. Un-named City of Saskatoon Afforestation Area. Part south of CN Chappell yards SE section 23-36-6-W3 preserved as afforestation area in perpetuity, under MVA conservation management- west of SWOLRA and east of COC.
3. Part of NE 21-36-6 W3 (West of the CN overpass on SK Highway 7) was purchased by the City. (Formerly named George Genereux Urban Regional Park)
4. Land on the east of the river, south of the Diefenbaker park and west of the Saskatoon Golf Course were also afforested.
By 1963 Saskatchewan Technical Institute (Saskatchewan Institute of applied Science and Technology Kelsey Campus, and now named Sask Polytechnic)opens along with St. Paul’s Hospital and the Mendel Art Gallery. This year sees the very last passenger train through the Canadian National down town terminal.
In 1965, the Qu’Appelle, Long Lake and Saskatchewan (QLLS) railroad bridge (built 1890) acquired by the CNR was leased to the CPR at the time of demolition. This wood trestle bed fell to ice build up four times during its history before being replaced by a steel bridge.
The Idylwild Bridge [sic first spelling] sod-turning ceremony occurs in 1965, and the Idylwyld Freeway opens in 1966. “The construction of the Idylwyld Freeway and removal of the rail yards from downtown was probably the crowning achievement of Mayor Sid Buckwold’s ten years in office.” Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge is the new name for the Idywyld Bride as of 2001.
The CN train yards were moved from down town to land north of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and named Chappell Yards.
1966 sees the Forest Nursery Station become the Forestry Park and Zoo replacing the Golden Gate Animal Park on 33rs Street.
In 1968, the Centennial Auditorium opens (now named TCU place Arts and Convention Centre). The Midtown Plaza and CN tower becomes operational in 1970 featuring a front facade in the style of the 1910 Canadian National Railway Station.
Over the decades 1970 to 1988, 15 schools open.
1972 sees drought resistant trees, Scotch Pine, Caragana, White Spruce planted in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area. In total 355 acres of afforestation areas were planted that year. In 1973, 355 additional acres are planted. Originally 2,300 acres were envisioned. 1972, A. L. Ligtemoet, Assistant Parks Superintendent sets before council that these first 660 acres of afforestation areas be kept in perpetuity. This same year the Western Development Museum moves from its location on 11th Street to the current location at the Exhibition grounds.
The very last electric trolley car runs through Saskatoon in 1974.
1978 Oct 19 Name “Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area” brought forward to city council; Dec 28, 1978 proposed that the area become a park; Jan 2, 1979, this is recommended by council. On September 4, 1979. the Meewasin Valley Authority was established. The designated names for the afforestation areas were brought forward to City Council on October 19, 1978, and on December 28, 1978, it was proposed before council that the area become a park. Then, on January 2, 17979 the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, and the George Genereux Urban Regional Park receive their names.
1983 sees the opening of the 42nd Street Bridge, the north end of Circle Drive is completed from Yorath’s vision.
1985 Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is dedicated June 15.
The size of the city changed to accommodate the rise in population, in 1951 the city was 53,268 residents, and by 1986, the population grew to 177,641 growing 234% over 35 years.
City planners take into account factors such as Land use planning, Strategic urban planning, Regional planning, Heritage and conservation, Urban renewal, Master planning, Transportation planning, Economic development, Environmental planning, Urban design, and Infrastructure planning. The planner liasons with communities to develop wonderful urban spaces to live, work, and play in. Taking into account a complex overview of the city’s population, current infrastructure, and future needs, urban planners create visions making the best us of geographic land resources. A planner, alongside civic, education and community leaders build upon existing resources, and think analytically about what the various communities in the city are in need of to make them better place for the residents for both the short term and also for long term plans and goals.
“It can be awkward, going from a small city to a big city. And by the time we get done with the 30-year plans, we’re going to be a big city. We’re going to be half a million people,” said Allan Wallace, the city planner who followed in the footsteps of Bert Wellman. In his reminisced after his three decades on the job as director of planning and development at the City of Saskatoon Wallace stated that, “I think environmentally, we need to pull up our socks a little bit. We’re lagging behind in some respects. “Tank Lesley Anderson is the current Director of Planning and Development at City of Saskatoon with a Master’s Degree in Planning at Dalhousie University Richmond, BC., and her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology at the University of Calgary.
“The primary goal of the City of Saskatoon planners is to build an increasingly sustainable community over time, with an enhanced quality of life, consistent with the vision and core strategies of the City’s Strategic Plan.”Planning Bert Wellman committed to riverbank protection put it into words thus; “the bottom line was that I’ve never wanted to have any other profession or live anywhere else and I will fight for what I believe in.”CIP
“This generation may either be the last to exist in any semblance of a civilised world or that it will be the first to have the vision, the bearing and the greatness to say, ‘I will have nothing to do with this destruction of life, I will play no part in this devastation of the land, I am determined to live and work for peaceful construction for I am morally responsible for the world of today and the generations of tomorrow.” Richard St. Barbe Baker.
2015 City of Saskatoon Municipal Manual.
H.E. Wellman FCIP | CIP Canadian Institute of Planners. Shaping our Communities. Sustaining Canada’s Future. 2016.
City of Saskatoon Expansion of City Limits City of Saskatoon.
Community Planner by Day, Video Spokesperson by Night? Urban Systems Community Planning. October 1, 2015.
Growth Plan Half a Million City of Saskatoon.
Gustafson, Glenn. Exploring the Wonder City. A historic driving tour of Saskatoon. City of Saskatoon Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee. 2002.
History of Saskatoon. Wikipedia.
History City of Saskatoon.
O’Brien, Ruth W. Millar, William P. Delainey Saskatoon: A History of Photographs. Edition illustrated.
Publisher Coteau Books, 2007.
ISBN 1550503669, 9781550503661.
Photos: Aerial photos of Saskatoon over the years Saskatoon StarPhoenix.
Photos Saskatoon Bridges over the years Saskatoon StarPhoenix.
Planning. City of Saskatoon.
Planning Publications and Maps City of Saskatoon & Saskatoon CMA Population Projection 2012-2032. City of Saskatoon.
Shaping Saskatoon. _ Saskatoon Speaks City of Saskatoon.
Strategic Plan City of Saskatoon.
Tank, Phil. Outgoing city planner likens Saskatoon to ‘awkward’ adolescent. Saskatoon StarPhoenix. July 25, 2016.
Wellman, Bert Saskatoon Star Phoenix. Legacy.com.
William Eadington GRAHAM Bill Graham. Delta B.C. The Province. June 7, 2014.
52° 06′ 106° 45′
For more information:
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city.
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Facebook: South West OLRA
Contact the Meewasin Valley Authority in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The MVA has begun a Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund. If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund (MVA RSBBAA trust fund)”. Please and thank you!