August 14, 2019
The City of Edmonton, in partnership with the River Valley Alliance, Province of Alberta and Government of Canada, have officially launched five new access points to Edmonton’s river.
New public docks and launches were installed in locations along the North Saskatchewan River: Whitemud Park (dock and hand launch), Laurier/Buena Vista Park (dock and hand launch), Dawson Park (dock), William Hawrelak Park (dock) and Capilano Park/50th Street (dock, hand launch and upgrades to existing vehicle launch). Construction and installation of the Emily Murphy Park site (dock and hand launch) will be coordinated with the completion of the Groat Road Bridge project.
“This $2.6 million project provides more opportunities for people to safely access the water in more locations along the river,” said Andrew Kwan, Acting Director of Open Spaces Infrastructure Delivery with the City of Edmonton. “With the addition of these five locations, the city will have nine hand launches, seven docks and two motorized boat launches ready for use.”
Environmental studies and public engagement were completed for each location to determine the selected sites. The City and the River Valley Alliance (RVA) worked together to confirm appropriate locations along the river for each new or refurbished boat dock and launch site.
This project creates greater public access to the river and is intended to reinforce the river as a connection to other parts of the region. The City is working in alignment with the RVA mandate to connect Devon to Fort Saskatchewan.
“River Valley Alliance projects are intended to not only connect the river valley through trail systems and footbridges, but to connect people with the river valley, and that includes creating access to it," said Brent Collingwood, RVA Executive Director. "We're excited that in working together with our federal, provincial and municipal partners, Edmonton boaters now have more ways to get on the beautiful North Saskatchewan River and enjoy the city from the unique vantage point of being on the water."
The total budget for the Boat Docks and Launches Project is $2.6 million and was funded by the RVA, the provincial and federal government and the City of Edmonton.
“Alberta is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, and adding these new boat docks will give Albertans more opportunities to explore our great province,” said Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks. “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.”
“Investing in recreational infrastructure is vital to developing dynamic and connected communities,” said Randy Boissonnault, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre, on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “These new docks are another exciting milestone in the River Valley Alliance Capital Program that will allow more people to enjoy the North Saskatchewan River from the water as well as its shores. This project is a great example of how we can work in partnership to build sustainable infrastructure for today and the future.”
Construction on the new boat docks and launches was completed in the fall of 2018, at which point they were installed and tested. This spring, the docks were ready for installation, but river levels were too high to put them in the water for public use. The new docks were installed in early August 2019 and are now ready for use.