No quick fixes to restoring Calgary’s remaining flood damaged pathways
Calgary, AB - The City of Calgary Parks has been working to repair and reconnect Calgary’s pathway system since the June 2013 flood. While significant progress has been made, the remaining 36 kilometres affecting approximately 25 sections of pathway will take time to repair due to environmental and land ownership considerations.
At the height of the flood, 93 kilometres of pathways along the Bow and Elbow Rivers were closed due to unstable river banks or pathway erosion. Addressing short-term work first to get as much of the pathway system up and running as soon as possible has seen 57 kilometres of pathway reopened in just over two months.
“Calgarians value their pathways,” says Todd Reichardt, Parks Manager, adding that over 94 per cent reported high satisfaction with the pathway system in last year’s City survey. “We recognize alternate routes add time to commutes and the impacts closed pathways have on recreational users. Be assured we are working to minimize these inconveniences as much as possible.
We thank citizens for their patience as we continue to repair the pathway system and ask for their continued understanding as we move into more complex work that will require more time.”
In some cases, where land has been washed away and river banks require reconstruction, regulatory approval from both provincial and federal governments must be obtained prior to performing work. Further, work in and around rivers can only be performed during “fish windows” to protect fish habitat from potential construction impacts. Fish windows for in-stream work in the Bow and Elbow Rivers occur in April and from July to September.
“The current fish window is rapidly coming to an end, and the next window won’t open until April,” says Reichardt. “Throughout the fall and winter, we will seek approval from the appropriate authorities so that in-stream work can resume once the fish window opens again.”
In addition to fulfilling environmental requirements, land ownership considerations must also be taken into account. Damaged pathways crossing land privately owned by a third party require The City to negotiate an agreement with the landowner prior to rebuilding the path.
“We need to respect the wishes of landowners when pathways cross land that is not City-owned,” says Reichardt.
Pathways impacted by the flood remain closed at this time. For safety reasons, the public is asked to obey all closure signs and to leave signs in place so all pathway users can identify areas dangerous to enter.
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