Edmonton

Float one's boat: 5 new docks and launches installed on North Saskatchewan River

Five new public docks and launches on the shores of the North Saskatchewan River are now open.

The new docks were only installed in early August because of high river levels

The city is now home to five new docks and hand launches along the North Saskatchewan River. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

Five new docks and launches on the shores of the North Saskatchewan River are now open to the public.

The City of Edmonton announced Wednesday that five locations along the river now have a boat or hand launch. They are:

  • Whitemud Park (dock and hand launch);
  • Laurier/Buena Vista Park (dock and hand launch); 
  • Dawson Park (dock); 
  • William Hawrelak Park (dock);
  • Capilano Park/50th Street (dock, hand launch and upgrades to existing vehicle launch).

Four of the five new docks are now in use. The opening of the Hawrelak Park dock has been delayed due to weather, according to a city spokesperson. 

The new water landings mean the city now has nine hand launches, seven docks and two motorized boat launches, according to a city news release.

The five new docks and launches were built in the fall of 2018 but were only installed in early August because river levels had been "too high to put them in the water for public use," says a city release.

The city, the provincial and federal governments, along with the not-for-profit River Valley Alliance (RVA) partnered together to fund the $2.6 million project. 

"I'm glad that the River Valley Alliance has done a fantastic job of increasing recreational opportunities in the North Saskatchewan River, and has been able to do this in a way that is environmentally sound and will allow Albertans to enjoy the river valley for generations to come," Jason Nixon, Alberta's minister of environment and parks, said in the release.

The new North Saskatchewan River entry points are part of a larger regional effort to allow more people to access the river.

The RVA, which is made up of the seven municipalities that border the river, wants to better connect Devon to Fort Saskatchewan through the river. 

The new boat launches are a part of that push to get people to the river, officials said.

"Many people have told us that they couldn't get onto the water with just the two motorized boat docks that we had really was the impetus to put these five boat docks in," Brent Collingwood, RVA's executive director, said on Wednesday.

The city couldn't install the new waterway launches until the beginning of August because river levels were too high. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

Environmental studies and public engagement were done before installation of the docks and launches.

An additional dock and hand launch is planned for Emily Murphy Park. 

Its opening will be co-ordinated alongside the completion of the Groat Road bridge construction.

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