Calgary

Park set to open in once-contaminated Lynnview Ridge in southeast Calgary

The once-contaminated Lynnview Ridge district in southeast Calgary is set to reopen this spring as a new park.

Subdivision abandoned after soil contaminants from old oil refinery discovered in 2001

The once-contaminated Lynnview Ridge in southeast Calgary will reopen this spring as a new park. (CBC)

The once-contaminated Lynnview Ridge district in southeast Calgary is set to reopen this spring as a new greenspace.

Hundreds of residents were forced to leave their homes in the area almost two decades ago when it was discovered that the land — the former site of a refinery — was toxic.

Trent Parks, the leader for environmental risk and liability for the city, says a lot of work has been done to make the area safe.

New bike paths through Lynnview Ridge open this month and the rest of the greenspace is set to open by October. (Google Street View)

"It's fantastic. This is something that's been there for a long time and we've been working on it for a lot of years, and we're just really excited to get it back into public use again," he said.

"We have done everything we possibly can to make sure it's safe. A lot of studies, human health risk assessments, environmental risk assessments. That plan was then vetted through Alberta Environment to make sure it was going to be protective of human health and the environment."

People had to leave 200 homes there about 20 years ago when the land was found to be toxic. (CBC)

Bike paths through the park should be open in May. The rest of the park is expected to open in October, once the new vegetation has had time to grow.

The Imperial Oil petroleum facility operated in the area from 1924 to 1975 and was later developed into the Lynnview Ridge subdivision.

After the contamination was discovered in 2001, Imperial Oil bought and demolished 142 homes and several apartment blocks in the neighbourhood.

A chain-link fence blocks access to the ridge where houses once stood in Lynnview Ridge. (Drew Anderson/CBC)

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