Calgary’s mayor wants the province to implement a better design when repairs begin on a stretch of the Bow River once known as the "drowning machine."

Harvie Passage was badly damaged during the June flood, just one year after a $17-million redesign that was meant to transform the old weir into a much safer Class 2 rapids course for canoeists and kayakers.

Naheed Nenshi said this time he wants a better design for the stretch of river near Inglewood.

“We still had a drowning in it when it first opened, so I hope the province will take this as an opportunity not to just fix it to what it was but to actually make it better,” he said.

The province can either make the passage safe for all recreational boaters, or repurpose it as a facility just for elite athletes,” he said.

Nenshi said he’s not sure a redesign could achieve both of those goals.

Before Harvie Passage opened in 2012, a least a dozen people had drowned in the weir’s impassable, recirculating wave over the last three decades.

The weir — or low-head dam — was built slightly downstream of the Calgary Zoo in 1904 to divert water from the Bow River into an irrigation canal.