*Note: The ‘back ground’ section of this blog is copied from a blog I wrote in August.
I am against the city permanently expropriating the through-road through the Edmonton County Club, period.
Rather than reacting without what I felt was the necessary background information, I have spent the past week gathering as much information as I could about this issue. The city held private discussions on the construction access to the new proposed footbridge. The city reviewed the option of using the ECC road or the Woodward Crescent Road. They have not said publicly why the project cannot be built from the Terwilliger side of the river. I have spoken to two sitting councillors about this issue, and they, along with the city administration have been pretty tight lipped. We need to find out why the bridge cannot be built mostly from the east side of the river. As well, there have been suggestion of using a barge in the construction, as another potential method. I do not have a solution, but there must be a better way.
I recently met with a few board members of ECC to get their side of the issue, as well as to take a tour of the club, which I know fairly well. Having a road going through the area, merely feet away from the front doors, filled with ongoing traffic is not an option. The city and the ECC need to work together to come up with a better solution. I am not a fan of using the Woodward Crescent Road access either. This would cause traffic issues through neighbourhoods that were not designed for that use. I am committed to facilitate that discussion and to fight for the constituents who elect me.
The bridge is an important part of the far south-west part of the river valley connection and we need to continue to invest in our river valley. The city needs to do a much better job in planning appropriate access for Edmontonians that allow all citizens to access our gem but also does not create havoc for citizens living near to the access points.
Background: (archived blog)
The new proposed Terwilliger Park Bridge http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/projects_redevelopment/terwillegar-park-footbridge.aspx is scheduled to be complete by 2015. The following details are from the City of Edmonton:
The footbridge and trail improvements are part of the River Valley Access Project, $72.9 million City of Edmonton initiative that will improve public access to the North Saskatchewan River and river valley. The project is made possible by grants from the River Valley Alliance, an organization of seven municipalities, including Edmonton, and both the federal and provincial governments and breaks down as follows:
- $24.3 million from the River Valley Alliance
- $22.635 million from the Government of Alberta’s Municipal Sustainability Initiative
- $24.3 million from the Federal government’s Build Canada Fund
- $1.265 million from the City of Edmonton’s general finances
- $400,000 from the City of Edmonton’s parkland reserves
This project is bringing up many concerns about access to the trails and bridge through Ward 5. There are no existing appropriate access points for construction or for future access.
I see these issues as one example of how the city has not done a great job of neighbourhood consultation before committing to a local project. We need to do better.
As a city, we have to address both the concerns of residents who’s daily life is effected by increased traffic to the river valley but also, we need to ensure ALL residence have appropriate access to our great resource. Like most issues, better public consultation and better advanced planning before committing, is the way to go.