CRUA PROPOSAL TO THE CALGARY RIVER ACCESS STRATEGY FOR IMPROVED BOAT AND HAND LAUNCH SITES
As part of the Calgary River Access Strategy passed by Calgary City Council in June 2016, Calgary River Users’ Alliance as a stakeholder in recreational river use has been consulted by Calgary Parks about the most appropriate access locations on the Bow and Elbow Rivers that should be considered for development.
CRUA identified in excess of 50 locations that are currently used by a variety of river users. A short list of 16 sites have been identified that offer the potential for development to meet recreational activities within the city.
Two categories of designated launch sites have been identified. Boat Ramps – that will serve all river users and Hand Launch Sites – that will serve kayak, canoe and tubes that can be carried to the river. The proposal requests that both categories of launch be serviced by toilets, garbage bins, benches and educational and safety signage.
The following site selection criteria was used for both Hand Launch and Boat Ramps:
♦Accessible from existing public roads. ♦Strategically located along the rivers to facilitate access and to offer a variety of boating trips. ♦Existing vehicle parking with room for expansion. ♦Room for improvement and/or addition of supporting amenities. ♦Accommodates as wide a variety of river users as possible. ♦Minimizes new disturbance to parkland by using established sites. ♦Avoids sensitive environmental areas and does not contribute to erosion or sediment input to river. ♦Does not interfere with use by emergency services.♦Avoids private property.
The 16 sites are: Bow River – Stoney Trail / Bearspaw ♦ Bowness Park ♦ Shouldice Park ♦ Point McKay ♦ Eau Claire ♦ Sunnyside ♦ Inglewood – 12 St. SE ♦ St. Patrick’s Island ♦ Cushing Bridge ♦ Ogden Road ♦ Graves Bridge ♦ Quarry Park ♦ Douglasdale
Elbow River – Sandy Beach♦ Stanley Park ♦ Inglewood – 8 St. SE at the confluence of the Elbow and Bow Rivers
Further details for the site selection can be found at the following link: Access Sites
City Administration will take the river access proposal to City Council in March of 2017. CRUA expects to see a roll out of infrastructure improvements over a 3-year development plan. In the meantime, we see that with very little cost, public trailered boat access should be reinstated at Stoney Trail and Shouldice Park above Harvie Passage and Cushing Bridge below. This would expand the drift boat fishing opportunities within Calgary.
Bow River Trout will be pleased to supply your comments on launch site selection to CRUA. It will assist with decisions as to which launch sites we should ask the City to consider for development and in what order of importance.
Parks Department is asking for general public engagement into the River Access Strategy. Visit their Website
The redevelopment of Harvie Passage is under way.
What will the new development look like. Most important is a completely new low flow channel that is safer for all river users. The right bank of the Bow River will also receive and update as a part of the Bend-in-the-Bow project.
Work will continue into the Fall of 2016 and recommence in the Spring of 2017. A grand opening of the facility will take place in the Fall of 2018.
Details of the development follow:
Calgary River Users Alliance (CRUA) is please to see Calgary Parks Department moving forward on the Calgary River Access Strategy.
The motion passed by City Council in June gave direction to City Administration to develop a strategy for the existing river access points and develop new ones where needed. Administration was also asked to develop a plan to resolve the closure of Graves Bridge boat ramp to the public. CRUA, with 15 river user group membership has been part of the stakeholder consultation process to develop the River Access Strategy.
River Access Strategy Website
Calgary Parks Department is asking for the general public engagement into the strategy. A Website has been launched this week to solicit input and update the community as the strategy develops. It is important that members of the river use community express their support for the strategy and if you wish to be a part of the stakeholder group please register on the website.
Graves Bridge Boat Ramp Access
CRUA has been assured that no immediate action will be taken to move away from continued public access. It is hoped that abuse of the gravel bar is behind us. Public education is an important part of a plan of action to reduce any further damage.
- The two concrete blocks will be removed next week.
- Signage to be developed, recognizing trailer boat access to the nearest river edge and restriction access upstream.
- Options for more protection of the gravel bar are being developed.
Calgary Parks Department has made a commitment to improve the amenities at river access points. Recent improvements can be seen at Grave Bridge. A park bench, garbage cans and a toilet were installed in July.
We can expect to see improvements at other sites in the near future.