Edmonton group pushes to have portion of Mill Creek resurfaced

WATCH ABOVE: A push is now underway to bring the north end of Mill Creek back to a natural state. Vinesh Pratap has the details.

EDMONTON — A push is underway to bring the north end of Mill Creek back above ground to a natural state.

The waterway runs through south central Edmonton before it deposits into the North Saskatchewan River. A portion of the creek is covered over; it was engineered to go underground by the planners of the day as Edmonton was developed.

“Right now Mill Creek Ravine disappears,” said Nancy Rempel with the Keepers of Mill Creek, a group that formed in 2009 following concerns about the integrity of the creek.

The group is now pushing to have the underground portion of Mill Creek resurfaced. The Keepers of Mill Creek believe it could be done alongside LRT expansion.

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“What we’re pushing for is that the city twin the two together,” said Rempel.

“This is a chance to reconnect it and, in theory, restore an ecological system.”

For LRT planners, the issue comes down to timing.

“It would be very difficult to include that in the LRT project now. We’re right in the middle of the procurement,” said Wayne Mandryk, the City of Edmonton’s Transit Projects Branch Manager. “We have three proponents that are ready to complete their bids and we want to assign that work so we can get construction going early in 2016.”

The idea isn’t completely dead, though; Mayor Don Iveson says the cost and complexity of resurfacing the creek will be evaluated.

In the meantime, Rempel says the group will continue its push for a brighter future for the north end of the waterway.

“We have a wonderful opportunity because the creek bed is already there. It hasn’t been compromised, yet,” she said.

With files from Vinesh Pratap, Global News. 

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