Thank you for taking the time to share your comments and concerns with Councillor Pincott regarding the River Park, Sandy Beach, Britannia Slopes redevelopment. Now that the plan is being implemented, we have heard from some residents and users of this park space.
As you likely know, engagement took place from 2009-2011, the plan was then approved by Council in 2011 and funding through the Enmax Legacy Fund was approved in March 2014.
Many of the emails and phone calls that we have received have common threads. There are concerns about fencing, the feel of the regional park, vegetation and the impact on the stability of the slopes/escarpments that are a major part of these parks.
The fencing being installed around the off-leash dog parks and the slopes are 4 feet tall, with the intention of having a minimal impact on views and sightlines. The fencing is being installed at various locations to address issues identified during public consultation; this will hopefully reduce user conflicts and keep people safe from areas where slope stability and erosion are of concern.
The fenced areas along the slopes are intended to guide all users to preferred pathways and access points to reduce further exacerbating slope stability, erosion and braiding issues. Some of the unofficial pathways that have been created over the years are being closed and reclaimed by planting natural vegetation in their place. Official granular pathways are being installed along the fencing at the slopes, providing a safe and clear pathway.
There have been concerns about the location of the benches along Britannia Slopes, as some of them are quite close to the new fence. These benches will be relocated, as a granular edge trail is being installed between the fence and the benches.
Re-vegetation and Rehabilitation
Reclamation and rehabilitation of areas damaged over the years will occur over the course of this project. Through the public consultation process, areas of the parks were identified for manicured lands, natural parkland, preservation and restoration work. Plants natural to this area will be planted in the areas earmarked for preservation and restoration work, replacing the invasive species that are currently growing there.
Slope Stability and Erosion
A large portion of this slope has been identified for preservation and restoration work. The unofficial pathways created by users over the years have contributed to stability and erosion issues. Fencing off access to this slope and directing users to official and safe pathways is the best way to minimize continued use and further erosion of this slope, and will assist in the preservation and restoration of this hillside as a natural area.
The goal of this project is to preserve this fantastic City resource for this generation and future generations. The information provided by engineers and the safety concerns they identified must be addressed. In some cases the measures being taken are preventative, fencing the whole escarpment, while others are responsive, such as the southern portions that already have barricades due to erosion, and that have eroded to the point that the existing barricades are in danger of falling during the next slide.
The goal is not to ruin or destroy the park – the goal is to preserve it. Yes, these are changes from what people are used to, but they are being implemented for the long term benefit of this regional park.
More information about the plan is available on the project webpage, and information about the public consultation can be found here.
** Correction: City of Calgary geotechnical engineers did a visual inspection of Britannia Slopes, specifically to determine the location of the fence. The fence setback from the crest of the slope varies between 1-3 meters, based on recommendations provided by the geotechnical engineers.
This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.