Calgary chopping down 160 trees on Eau Claire pathway

The city says 160 trees are being cut down along the south side of the Bow River for new construction projects and flood mitigation work.

Projects for the Eau Claire area, including a new bridge, plaza and flood mitigation will cost around $55 M

A rendering looking west to the Centre Street bridge with ramp improvements, one part of a larger redevelopment that will see the removal of trees in the area. (City of Calgary)

The city says 160 trees are being cut down along the south side of the Bow River for new construction projects and flood mitigation work.

Just between the Reconciliation Bridge and Jaipur Bridge, Calgarians will start to hear the woodchippers soon and trees cleared out.

The city says the rough budget for all of the projects in the Eau Claire area — including the flood mitigation, a replacement for the Jaipur Bridge, a new plaza and upgrades to the Centre Street pathway ramp — is around $55 million.

Joyce Tang, the Eau Claire area improvements program lead for the City of Calgary, says the plans will help invest into the community.

"The (cutting of) trees are part of our projects that will also protect Calgarians and the downtown, our economic driver, from floods. So there's going to be three projects happening in the area. So that's why all the trees are coming down," she told the Calgary Eyeopener.

She says Calgary has always aimed to protect its trees and that the plan was a last resort, but a needed one.

"What we need to do in order to do the flood work, in order to do lifecycling and maintenance work, we do need to remove these trees," she said.

She said that a number of them also have structural defects and need to come down for safety reasons.

A rendering of the proposed span that would replace the Jaipur Bridge leading from Eau Claire to Prince's Island. (City of Calgary)

"We are putting back in 114 trees and shrubs and flowers. What this allows us to do is … to re-establish the canopy coverage, but it also gives us a diversity succession planning," she said.

"So not all of the trees are all the same age and that will certainly help with the resiliency of the banks as well." 

Trees will be repurposed

Tang adds that a lot of the downed trees will be put to use, such as spread for flower beds in the area.

"We're going to break it down and it'll be organic matter,"she said.

As well, she says in the Eau Claire Plaza around 50 trees will be repurposed and integrated into its new design.

"Whether that be through benches or fixtures, which is is really neat because it really helps us celebrate the architectural elements and the history of the area," said Tang.

Some lumber will also be donated to Bowness High school's construction technology and trade center department, she said.

Construction on the project will start this year, with trees being removed up until the summer. Tang says the project in its entirety is expected to be completed by 2023.

For more information, the city will be updating the matter on its website

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.


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