Alex MacPherson, Saskatoon StarPhoenix
The CEO of a Saskatoon development company says the city’s first residential car-sharing program will benefit young people moving into the downtown core.
“You’ve got a significant amount of millennials that are coming into the market and changing their buying habits, the way they live, where they work and what they require … Not only are small units popular, but less vehicle dependence is popular,” North Prairie Developments Ltd.’s Andrew Williams said.
The company revealed the program Friday at the official opening of its 94-unit, $23 million Shangri-La condominium project on Fourth Avenue North. Williams said while about 50 per cent of the nine-storey building’s units have sold, it’s too early to say if the car-sharing program convinced anyone to buy.
North Prairie Developments Ltd. CEO Andrew Williams (right) and marketing coordinator Krista Nakonechny unveiled the city’s first residential car-sharing program, for residents of the Shangri-La condominium project.
Gord Waldner / The StarPhoenix
The venture is a partnership between North Prairie and Enterprise Rent-a-Car, which also operates a car-sharing program at the University of Saskatchewan. Williams said Enterprise will provide and maintain the Nissan Versa Note, and collect a “minimal” fee from Shangri-La residents. North Prairie Developments’ only expense is the car’s decals, and the program could make money for both parties, he added.
The developer’s marketing coordinator, Krista Nakonechny, said she expects about one quarter of the building’s residents to pay for the program, which allows them to book the car online.
“ It’s really important for us to offer creative ways — creative, unique amenities — to a project to attract attention, and also to contribute to the changing culture of the city,” she said.
Saskatoon mayor Don Atchison, who attended the announcement, said the program will help families cut costs while helping change the way people in Saskatoon think about transportation. Car-sharing programs are “part and parcel” of a broad shift in transportation, which includes the city’s proposed bus rapid transit program, he added.
“We have to keep evolving all the time, and that’s what’s happening here right now … It’s just a great step in the right direction.”