Fish Creek Provincial Park flood recovery to focus on bridges, pathways

The province says the next phase of flood recovery in Fish Creek Provincial Park is now underway in Calgary's south end.

Repairs to 1 of the largest urban parks in North America expected to cost $16M

More than half of the pathways in Fish Creek Provincial Park were impacted in some way after last year's flood. Three bridges were also heavily damaged. (Rachel Maclean/CBC)

Fish Creek Provincial Park in Calgary's south end was devastated by floodwaters last year, but today broken pathways, damaged bridges and cordoned-off areas remain.

Current projects underway

  • Restoring banks on the Bow River and reducing risk of future erosion.
  • Rebuilding abutments on a key Bow River bridge (Bridge 14).
  • Reconnecting the park’s paved pathways with the entrance to the Sue Higgins Bridge.
  • Repairing pathways in Bebo Grove and Hull’s Wood.
  • Clearing flood debris from day-use areas at Mallard Point and Bankside.
  • Completing planning around park access and creek crossings at the Acadia entrance.

Joey Young, a senior parks planner for Alberta, says the focus right now is to complete one vital piece of infrastructure.

"The Sue Higgins Bridge does provide a fair bit of not only access to the park but also it's part of [the] commuter route for people on the east bank of the Bow River to commute down into downtown Calgary," he said. 

Young says the hope is to get the project done by the fall.

"It is a City of Calgary bridge, so we are working very closely with them on the bridge designs and also the pathway connections."

It is part of the next phase of the park's recovery. The first phase included cleaning debris from pathways and restoring day-use areas.

The work was completed with help from The Friends of Fish Creek volunteers.

Now the focus is on bigger projects, like building better bridges and pathways. 

'Making them more resilient'

"Just even the design of our pathways and making them more resilient in times of flood so high water can go over top of them and debris can settle on them, but we are just able to go in and clean them off very easy," said Young.

Bridge 14 was heavily damaged by floodwaters, but repairs are expected to begin soon. (Rachel Maclean/CBC)

He says this flood mitigation work is building on the flood recovery work done after the 2005 flood.

Residents interested in finding out more about the flood mitigation work are invited to attend an information session next Tuesday at the Fish Creek Environmental Learning Centre from 4:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. MT for more details.

The flood repair work is part of the $81 million designated for flood recovery in Alberta parks.

Roughly $16 million is designated for Fish Creek Provincial Park, with $60 million designated for Kananaskis Country and $5 million for other areas, including Wyndham Carseland Provincial Park and Oldman River Provincial Recreation Area.

About the Author

Rachel Maclean

Reporter

Rachel Maclean is an award-winning journalist who joined the CBC Calgary team in 2011. She now works as the newsroom's social media guru.

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