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River Park, Sandy Beach and Britannia Slopes

 

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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.

Spring 2016 Update

The detailed design for Phase II improvements in River Park, Sandy Beach and Britannia Slopes was completed in fall 2015. Construction on these improvements has started with upgrades to the Sandy Beach area, including the timber stairs down to the beach, the parking lot, upgrades to the washroom, picnic shelter, picnic nodes and the regional pathway. Any detours on the pathway will be posted.

The parking lot will be paved with new asphalt, trees and shrubs will be planted around the lot to reduce run-off, and a more efficient layout of the parking stalls is being designed. The main parking lot and main access road (50 Ave SW) to Sandy Beach will be closed. Public will still be able to access the river at Sandy Beach; however, public parking will only be available on the street along 50 Ave SW and 14a Street SW.

Construction to Sandy Beach expected to be completed in early summer. Please be careful and watch for the construction traffic while visiting/using the park. Also, please be respectful of any and all construction signs. They are in place for the safety of all park users.

Other improvements and upgrades to come:

  • Turf management and restoration work in River Park, including major irrigation upgrades, aimed at 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. A new location for river access is being designated. We remind park users that no water-access for dogs is allowed at Sandy Beach.
  • Planting/implementation of living fences will provide natural barriers and enhancement to fencing to better integrate structures into the park aesthetic.
  • Upgrades to amenities:
    • Regulatory signage to direct users to new off-leash areas, access points and to alert users of any restoration closures or management changes.
    • The existing washroom will receive life-cycle maintenance.
    • 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.
    • Improvements to timber steps.
       
  • 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.

Progress and construction updates will be provided on this page as work progresses, so please check back regularly.

For a complete and detailed listing of all Council-approved actions and improvements in this project, please refer to the Design Development Plan. Signs regarding the planned work are 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 Calgary 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.

Phase II - Update - Fall 2015

In Fall 2015, the detailed design of Phase II improvements to River Park, Sandy Beach and Britannia Slopes Improvement project began. The improvements will enhance the park experience for all users of this multi-use regional park, and provide a balance of uses, design interventions, and improved management practices. The project’s Design Development Plan provides a comprehensive listing of all improvements and recommendations for the park, including the different phases of the project.

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 Calgary.ca, 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 City's flood recovery work, visit The City’s Flooding in Calgary 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.