Natural beauty hides crumbling infrastructure at Edmonton's Beaumaris Lake

When north Edmonton residents want to find a natural setting, many head to a manmade lake. Beaumaris Lake, just off of Castle Downs Road and 153rd Avenue, is a stormwater management facility built in 1977.

'We want to make sure it's meeting the needs of the citizens of today,' city official says

Residents hope the stormwater management facility walking areas around Beaumaris Lake will be repaired by the City of Edmonton soon. 1:23

When north Edmonton residents want to find a natural setting, many head to a manmade lake.

Beaumaris Lake, just off of Castle Downs Road and 153rd Avenue, is a stormwater management facility built in 1977.

Over the years, nature has reclaimed its edges, creating a beautiful scenic spot to walk. But the crumbling infrastructure ensures that visitors have to watch their steps.

"For the longest time [on the] north side, that was what we had," said Edmonton teacher Andrew Parker, who brings students to enjoy walking the trails that surround the lake. 

"If we wanted to see a little piece of the forest or whatnot, and lakes and whatnot, that is what we had to do. Otherwise we had to go all the way outside of the city, outside of the town to get that experience."
Beaumaris Lake is one of Edmonton's oldest and largest stormwater facilities. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

The city manages more than 230 different stormwater management systems. Now 40 years old, Beaumaris Lake is one of the oldest.

It's also one of the largest, with a perimeter of 2.5 kilometres.

Some of the brick walkways are uneven and stairs have been fenced off due to safety concerns. The city says it has become difficult to repair these issues during routine maintenance.

Part of a larger move to upgrade storm mitigation, the city conducted a pilot project between October 2015 and October 2016 called the Beaumaris Lake Condition Assessment

The assessment will be used as a template to assist the city in studies of other storm management areas.

According to a report by the engineering firm Stantec, more than $5 million would be needed for short-term repairs to Beaumaris Lake. The same report says a long-term rehabilitation plan would require $34 million in spending.

"The next step is to go into the community and gather feedback from the citizens for what they would like to see in that area," said Marlis Foth, the city's director of open space planning and design.

"If we are going to go replace something, we want to make sure it is meeting the needs of the citizens of today and maybe not of the citizens of thirty years ago."
Some areas around Beaumaris Lake are fenced off as the deteriorating location are more then routine maintenance can repair. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

Until upgrades are made, residents are encouraging each other to continue enjoying the natural beauty.

"I would argue that it's not just a utilitarian usage," Andrew Parker said of the lake.

"It is more than that for the people of the community."
Beaumaris Lake water seen through the concrete side rails. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

Files from Tanara McLean/CBC