City moves annual spring auction online due to COVID-19 restrictions

City of Prince Albert fleet manager Robert Snowden speaks to council during budget meetings at City Hall in 2019. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

The City of Prince Albert’s annual spring auction will go ahead online instead of in-person due to COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings.

Buyers will be able to place their bids online through McDougall Auctions starting on June 17, instead of bidding on-site. City fleet manager Robert Snowden said it’s the best option available since provincial restrictions won’t be lifted in time to hold a regular event.

“Normally, the crowds get fairly large, and with a public auction we can’t have social distancing,” Snowden explained. “Online is the next best thing, so that’s what we’re going to do. (It) keeps contact minimal with the public, and helps stop the spread of COVID-19.”

The auction was originally scheduled for May 9, a date city administrators picked roughly six months in advance. However, those plans stalled after the pandemic started to spread.

“With COVID-19 happening we cancelled the whole auction and waited to see when things would start normalizing a little bit,” Snowden said. “Since they are starting to open a few things up right now, we decided to have our sale on June 17.”

The auction allows buyers to bid on used, obsolete or surplus items from various City of Prince Albert departments. The list includes used vehicles and equipment the City no longer needs, or can no longer acquire parts for, plus lost bicycles that have not been claimed, computer parts, office equipment and police recovered items.

A complete list of items is available at Snowden said they would get photos of the sale items online as soon as possible. Viewing and pickup times will also be posted on the McDougall’s Auction website.

While the annual spring auction will go ahead, the same can’t be said for garage and yard sales. They are not named as allowable businesses under the Reopen Saskatchewan Plan, since provincial government does not consider them critical public services.