Nearly 300 trees may be removed from North Glenmore Park for stormwater pipe installation

A large pipe is being installed under the popular green space due to the construction of the southwest Calgary ring road, resulting in the removal of nearly 300 trees.

Trees to be reused for shady fish habitats along Bow and Elbow rivers

A stormwater trunk pipe is being removed from Tsuut'ina First Nation land and rerouted under North Glenmore Park. (Catherine McClelland/CBC)

As many as 277 trees might have to be cut down in North Glenmore Park in southwest Calgary this winter.

A large pipe is being installed under the popular green space, which is on the north side of the Glenmore Reservoir, due to the construction of the Calgary ring road.

The pipe will carry stormwater, which the city says will be treated before pouring into the reservoir. The outfall will be near the Blue Heron picnic area.

Stormwater — which rolls off roads and land in heavy rain or snowfalls — historically has been diverted through the Tsuut'ina First Nation. As part of the agreement to build the southwest Calgary ring road, that pipe is being removed from the nation's land.

Construction is underway in the park, and is expected to be finished by next summer. In the meantime, expect some road and parking closures.

Charles Pullan, the city's senior engineer on the project, spoke with Calgary Eyeopener host Angela Knight about how the construction will affect the landscape and people in the area.

Q: Why are you putting a big pipe under North Glenmore Park?

A: This is part of the southwest Calgary ring road and the utility relocates for utilities that currently cross the Tsuut'ina First Nation. So we're relocating the storm trunk that exists there down 37th Street and through to the Glenmore Reservoir.​

Q: Where are you with this project right now?

A: We're about halfway done. We've already got the pipe installed down 37th Street between Glenmore Trail and 66th Avenue just into the park.

Then continuing through this winter, we'll be installing the storm trunk through the park and to the Glenmore Reservoir.

Q: You're sort of moving into Phase 2, which is where we get rid of these trees. Why do you have to cut down so many?

A: We're keeping the pipe under the roadway as best we can in North Glenmore Park. Just with the size of the pipe and the size of the excavation, there are some tree impacts along the edge of the roadway there.

Trees in North Glenmore Park are marked to be removed. The city says the trees will be reused as shade for fish habitats. (Catherine McClelland/CBC)

Q: Will you be replanting the trees?

A: With the trees coming out, we're going to be exceeding what our compensation would be for putting trees back in. We're going to be planting over 2,200 trees that are going in the park for replacement of that.

As well, we'll be salvaging the trees that we are taking out and stockpiling them to use for future fish habitat work that we've got on the Bow and Elbow Rivers.

We're going to reuse them as fish habitat, providing shade cover and that for fish to live under and around.

Q: Sounds like it's going to be a big project. How else is the park going to be affected by the work that's being done? 

A: The west half of the park, the roadways, will be closed from the end of this month through April/May timeframe, and with that, we'll be doing the installations there.

We will be keeping the pathway connected and open throughout that time. We'll have a temporary pathway detour just skirting around the edge of construction going through there.

North Glenmore Park is at the south end of Crowchild Trail. It can also be accessed from 37th Street S.W. (Google)

When we're going through and constructing all of this, we're going to take some time to add some additional amenities in the park.

We're going to add a bunch more parking spaces, we're going to improve some picnic sites and some fire pits and we're going to take the currently summer-only washroom there and make it be year-round use.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

With files from Caroline Wagner, Catherine McClelland and the Calgary Eyeopener