City lays out plans to help rebuild damaged pathways and green spaces

Calgary closed parkways Bowness Park is one of many locations in Calgary that is still recovering from June's horrendous flood. Already undergoing a $10.5-million renovation, the park was hit hard by the flood and remains closed to the public.

A video posted on calgary.ca  goes over the damaged areas and what Calgarians can expect.

"The west end of Bowness Park was where the bigger debris was deposited," said Maggi Mclvor, parks construction manager with the City of Calgary, in the movie clip. "Our priority is to open up the pathway systems again so they are safe."

The 2013 business plan includes a "new budget request of $5 million from 2013 to 2014 for ongoing major repairs and replacement of existing pathway infrastructure is based on annual inspections, which require repairs immediately or within next six years."

Connections washed away

Molli Bennett, an ecotourism and outdoor leadership student at Mount Royal University, uses Calgary pathways to travel between MRU and Bowness. She said the pathways are harder to manoeuvre around because of all the blockades.

"The aspects of making Calgary more commuter friendly for bikes is a priority," Bennett said. "Repairing paths that have already been there before should be something (the city) should continue to work on."

Francis Young, a resident of Valley Ridge, walks his dog daily down the pathway, but can no longer travel the switch back route typically used by community residents to go down to Bowness.

"You can't get across the river at all or really down to Bowness — when you look at it and get down to it, there's a lot of damage," Young said. "We haven't been over there for a while now because of the flooding."

The main pathway from Valley Ridge to Bowness has had a blockade warning residentsnot to enter, but that has since been ignored and pushed to the side.

The damage by the flood has left many Calgarians without pathways for recreational activity.The damage by the flood has left many Calgarians without pathways for recreational activity.

Photo by Hannah Cawsey

When asked if Bowness should be repaired sooner rather than later due to its heritage status, Young replied, "a lot of people are out of their homes so I think that would be more important." 

Ongoing plan

According to the capital budget revision meeting on Sept. 3, which covered flood damage, park clean up, demolition and infrastructure repair,"flood damages (in Bowness Park) are affecting the entire park."

Significant damage to:

  • Turf areas
  • Picnic areas and play grounds
  • New parking lot
  • River edge and lagoon edge
  • Boat house and dock
  • Pathway at west end of park

The revision plan calls for a $2.6-million budget for council approval, while Bowness Park and Prince's Island Park, which contain a bulk of the flood damage, could potentially receive $6.5 million for repairs.

Bowness Park is currently under construction, for more information on the park's recovery, visit http://www.calgary.ca/CSPS/Parks/Pages/Locations/NW-parks/Bowness-Park.aspx

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