Q & A 2012-2016 Capital Project

River Valley Alliance recently announced the start of a $90 million capital project. When will the initiatives within the project be finished?

The capital project consists of 13 project initiatives over 18 sites in 6 of the 7 municipalities.  These initiatives will commence over the next four years, and be substantially completed by 2016.

What is the RVA's Role?

The RVA is responsible for the overall program, but the municipalities will manage the individual initiatives within their jurisdictions.  Updates on the progress of the various initiatives will be available on the RVA website as projects commence.

How were the 18 initiatives chosen for the capital project?

Working together the RVA and the municipalities selected initiatives that were considered priorities in the RVA’s Plan of Action. The focus is on initiatives that support access to the river and river valley and serve to connect the length of the Park.

The Capital Project includes 74 km of new trail. Will that complete the Park's trail connection from Devon to Fort Saskatchewan?

No.  The RVA Plan of Action identifies a 88 km primary multi-use trail that would connect Devon to Fort Saskatchewan.    The 74 kms of trail in the 2012-16 Capital Project, include portions of this primary trail as well as secondary trail links which provide connectivity to the primary trail. There will be a remaining 33 km of primary trail left to complete.

When the Capital Project is finished in 2016, will the RVA's work be done?

There is still much to do.  Funding allocated to the recent program and for initiatives that have already been completed represent less than 1/6 of the total cost to complete the Park.  The RVA Plan of Action (2007) estimated that $605 million (based on 2006 estimates) would be needed to complete all projects in the Plan.

Are these initiatives the first projects that River Valley Alliance has funded?

The RVA allocated nearly $5 million toward projects that have been completed since 2007:

  • Town of Devon: improvements to Voyageur Park
  • Parkland County:  improvements to Prospectors Point
  • Strathcona County:  Strathcona Riverside Nature Trail
  • Sturgeon County:  Heritage Walk in Lamoureux
  • City of Fort Saskatchewan:  Strachan’s Landing, Red Coat Landing, West River’s Edge Recreation Area
  • City of Edmonton:  Louise McKinney Riverfront Park and access trails on both sides of the river leading to the Fort Edmonton Footbridge

Q & A RVA’s overall goals and 2007 Plan of Action

What is the urgency in implementing the concept plan for the river valley?

Alberta and the Capital Region are experiencing enormous growth; the population in the Capital Region is now 1.2 million. Like never before in our history, there is a growing recognition of the importance of planning ahead, anticipating the impact of new developments, preserving the environment, and not compromising the quality of life we value so highly.

What are the benefits of a Capital Region River Valley Park?

Ensuring a sound, future plan for the river valley pays off for everyone – for the people who want to see the river valley protected and preserved, for the people who walk and cycle the trails, fish, ski and canoe on the river, for the people who see the potential for an outstanding tourism destination, and for the people who value and want to understand our history and culture.

There are many examples where creating and preserving an urban park has contributed substantially to a city’s quality of life – think of Vancouver and Stanley Park, Winnipeg and the Forks, or New York and Central Park.

For people who already live in the region, the proposed park would enhance quality of life, provide exceptional recreational opportunities, and help build their futures in Alberta and the Capital Region.

The tourism potential of the river valley is also enormous and can add to job creation in the region. Overall it is estimated that implementing the full scope of the Plan will contribute $179 million per year in economic benefits to the regional economy.

The Plan of Action is not just about the river valley, but more importantly about building a great metropolitan region that includes, at its core, a future that is healthy, prosperous, sustainable, a source of pride and an example to be emulated by other communities.

How does the Plan of Action impact the natural character and environment of the river valley?

The RVA is committed to the protection and preservation of the natural features of the river valley.  Our Plan of Action strongly focuses on maintaining and where possible, enhancing the environmental integrity of the river valley including reclamation. Implementation of the Plan of Action will be subject to further public review through the statutory processes of our municipal shareholders, e.g. Edmonton’s North Saskatchewan River Valley bylaw. This will ensure that the environmental concerns of the public and stakeholders are heard and addressed on each site-specific project initiative. In some cases, the Plan may have to be adjusted in the future to ensure environmental issues are appropriately addressed and mitigated.

When will the Park be completed?

The concept plan for the Park is a long range plan that requires significant funding over an extended period of time.  In addition there remain many locations where secured access from privately owned lands to the river is still required.  It may take some time to realize the full potential of the Plan.  The Plan recognized the need to first provide access to the river and to connect municipalities along the length of the Park.  The concept plan also recognizes there will be a need to upgrade existing infrastructure and that there are opportunities to expand or introduce new amenities in the future.

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