Public safety remains The City’s top priority as repair work begins in Sue Higgins Park
The City of Calgary Parks has begun the extensive repair work needed to repair Sue Higgins Park from recent flooding after carefully assessing the park over the past few weeks. Parks crews are working diligently to complete repairs, and the majority of work is expected to be complete by late fall.
“Public safety is The City’s top priority as we work to reopen sections of the park. All visitors to the park are asked to respect closures while repair work is underway,” said Justin Brown, Acting Manager.
During the flood, the entire park was covered with water along with large amounts of debris and garbage. Damaged trees, fences, the development of sinkholes, and unstable river banks have created hazards for people and pets alike. The Bow River Pathway along the east side of the park in front of the Lafarge construction plant was completely washed away, and replacing this pathway will be part of a multi-year process.
As different areas of the park are repaired and made safe for use, The City will reopen these areas one at a time. Some areas may need to be temporarily re-closed after opening to address any minor repair work that arises.
“Once an area of the park has re-opened, Calgarians are reminded that tall grass, standing water and muddy sections may hide debris and make surfaces slippery,” said Brown. “We ask people to exercise caution both for themselves and their four-legged companions.”
While The City works to clean-up and repair the recreational areas of Sue Higgins Park, the natural regeneration of the balsam poplar forest will be encouraged. The silt and nutrient-rich deposits left behind by flood waters are ideal for poplar seedlings that are already germinating.
“Allowing Mother Nature an opportunity to rejuvenate and replenish the park will help ensure the long term health of our much valued natural areas,” says Brown. “Small sections of land within the pilot off-leash area will be fenced off to allow this process to unfold.”
Brown said sites were selected based on an abundance of seedlings and silt deposits, and identified as having a good chance of survival. Parks will monitor the sites and the natural recovery of the vegetation.
Work related to the Sue Higgins Park improvement project has slowed while flood-related recovery is underway. Once safety related work is complete, timelines and scope for resuming pre-flood construction activities will be reviewed.
Parks would like to thank all Calgarians for their patience and support as The City recovers from the flood. For more information on Sue Higgins Park and to learn what areas are currently open please visit calgary.ca/parks.