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River Park, Sandy Beach and Britannia Slopes

Sandy Beach and Britannia Slopes on the Elbow River

River Park, Sandy Beach and the Britannia Slopes together form a popular park and recreation area for Calgarians. This regional park is located north of the Glenmore Dam and along the Elbow River in southwest Calgary.

Phase II - Update - Fall 2015

In Fall 2015, Phase II of the River Park, Sandy Beach and Britannia Slopes Improvement project begins. In order to enhance the park experience for all users of this multi-use regional park, a balance of uses, design interventions, and improved management practices have been included in the detailed design plan (DDP) of the park. A few of these improvements and changes include:

  • Turf management and restoration work will occur in River Park, including major irrigation upgrades, aimed at testing various methods for recovery of, maintaining and managing healthy turf in a high use off-leash area;
  • Changes to river access for dogs are needed to balance the sensitive riparian areas with the desire for water-access for dogs and their owners. Two new locations for river access are being designated and designed. These are visible on the map, (which is also installed at various locations throughout the park for citizen awareness). We remind park users that no water-access to dogs is allowed at Sandy Beach.
  • New parking lot / river access for water recreation will include upgrades to the parking lot. This involves asphalt paving, tree and shrub planting to reduce run-off, and a more efficient layout of the parking stalls. River access at Sandy Beach will have a designated entry-point close to the parking lot for rafters and other river users.
  • Planting/implementation of living fences will provide natural barriers and enhancement to fencing to better integrate structures into the park aesthetic.
  • Upgrades to amenities:
    • New regulatory signage to direct users to new off leash areas, access points and alert to any restoration closures or management changes.
    • The existing washroom will receive life-cycle maintenance to reflect current accessibility and environmental standards.
    • The playground at Sandy Beach will be updated.
    • Improvements to picnic areas will better accommodate family-sized groups rather than large groups.
    • Benches in need of repair / replacement will be life cycled.
  • Management Improvements to parks:
    • More frequent waste removal service.
    • Additional large bins for dog waste, screened to minimize visual impact to park users and residents of community.
    • Higher level of turf management, including irrigation to establish and maintain healthy turf.
    • Enhanced bylaw and education strategies in off-leash areas to encourage better dog waste disposal and animal behaviour and control.
    • Development of coordinated plan with stewardship organizations, and dog-focused special events to share information with park users.

For a complete and detailed listing of all Council-approved actions and improvements to be found in this project, please refer to the Design Development Plan (DDP). Signage of the planned work is posted at various locations throughout the park for citizen awareness. Work will continue as planned, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, dependant on weather and other mitigating factors. Any questions or comments can be directed to Parks by calling 311.

If you see any destructive or suspicious behaviour, please report it to Calgary Police Services by calling their non-emergency line at 403-266-1234.

Phase I - Update - Spring 2015

Informal Trail Reclamation - Britannia Slopes

In Spring 2015, Phase I of the River Park, Sandy Beach and Britannia Slopes Improvement project will conclude with the planting of shrubbery. Native shrub species such as Wolf Willow and Prickly Rose will be planted to help reclaim informal trails and encourage restoration within these green spaces.

This planting will not impact access or use of designated trails in the park, and will enhance the overall appearance and diversity of the park for all users. Help us make these park improvements as successful as possible - by respecting all trail closures and remaining on designated trails - to give the new plants time to grow and establish.

Update - Winter 2015

Crews began work on the first phase of construction in summer 2014, consisting of trail restoration and improvements, changes to off-leash area boundaries, and fencing installation for the protection and restoration of the park’s natural areas.

However, since beginning work in the park, there have been escalating incidents of park vandalism, destruction of construction equipment and supplies and abusive behaviour to City contractors and employees.

As a result, The City of Calgary’s Animal and Bylaw Services have also been asked to increasingly patrol the area, and Corporate Security has installed cameras in the park to deter further damage, vandalism and to ensure safety of all park users and residents in the community. City staff are working closely with Calgary Police to monitor park damages.
The cameras will be adjusted and configured so that they will not record any nearby housing and/or private property.

City parks are provided for the enjoyment of all Calgarians. We recognize that not every idea or suggestion can be accommodated due to the wide range of needs and desires of all Calgarians. However, we believe we do our best to find a balance between all the feedback we receive from citizens.

Parks is anticipating having all the improvements and recommendations completed by the end of 2016. Construction updates will continue to be posted on, and any questions or concerns can be directed to Parks by contacting 311.

If you see any destructive or suspicious behaviour, please report it to Calgary Police Services by calling their non-emergency line at 403-266-1234.

Update - Summer 2014

Construction crews began work in the park in mid-July. Signage was posted in the park prior to the work starting to remind park users of the construction. Park users are asked to please respect all park closures and signage while construction is occurring.

Parks is anticipating having all improvements and recommendations identified in the Council approved Design Development Plan (DDP) completed by the end of 2016, and will post construction updates on this web page. Questions or concerns can be directed to Parks by contacting 311.

Parks would also like to remind people of the ongoing flood repairs happening in the park, specifically riverbank stabilization work and repairs to the Elbow River pedestrian bridge. For more information on the park’s flood recovery work, visit The City’s Flood Recovery web page.

Project information

From 2009-11, The City of Calgary Parks worked with stakeholder groups and the public to develop a management and design development plan for the park. The plan was developed to address stakeholder concerns about environmental damage, aging amenities and user-group conflicts.

The two main goals for this planning process were:

  1. A Park Management Plan recommending principles and strategies related to enhancing the park experience for all users, reducing potential conflict among park users, minimizing biophysical impact of park users and maximizing park sustainability.
  2. A phased Design Development Plan (DDP) identifies opportunities for improvement related to off-leash dog use, impact of over-use in general relating to park health and maintenance, impact of use by river rafters, appropriate location of internal trails/regional pathways, increasing pedestrian access and use by nearby residents, and traffic and parking.

In March 2014, City Council voted to allocate funding through the ENMAX Legacy Parks Program to complete all of the park improvements and recommendations in the DDP.