Alberta flooding rips apart kayak courses

Kayakers in southern Alberta are having a tough summer after two key courses were ruined by last month's floods.

Organizers scramble to get whitewater course in Kananaskis fixed in time for competition

Kayakers in southern Alberta are having a tough summer after two key courses were ruined by last month’s floods. 

Both Harvie Passage in the Bow River in Calgary and a popular whitewater course in Kananaskis Country were devastated by the raging floodwater.   

Mike Holroyd, head coach of Alberta Slalom Canoe Kayak, said huge boulder channels were ripped apart at Harvie Passage.

Calgary athlete Jessica Groeneveld, who wants to be on Canada's Olympic kayaking team in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, said she has fewer places to train since the floods.  

"It's a bit devastating that it wiped out our entire training centre," she said.

The K-Country course was ruined just weeks before the national championships were to be held there.

Officials had to scramble to get permits to fix the course, Holroyd said.  

Championship races to go ahead

"They had two machines in here working for two days and they basically replaced all these big boulders," he said. "It's a nice clean river in terms of how the eddies work now."

An eddy is a river feature that forms just downstream of an obstruction, like on the side of a river or immediately after a boulder. The water in an eddy flows in the opposite direction from the rest of the river.

The races will go ahead as planned from Aug. 1-4.

The province is still assessing the damage to Harvie Passage and it’s not yet clear when or if it will be repaired.  

Officials are reminding Calgarians that while the ban on the Bow River is lifted, conditions on the river are still dangerous and pose a considerable risk to anyone on the river or near the riverbanks.

"Substantial changes in the river will necessitate the need and ability to react quickly in order to navigate hazards," said Calgary police in a release.

"Use caution in and around Harvie Passage and please use the portage on ‘River Right’ to exit the water as river channels have dramatically changed in this area."