Construction on the southwest portion of Calgary’s ring road project was stopped over the weekend after Alberta’s Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) issued a statement on the project.
The nearly one-kilometre bridge passes over the Elbow River in the Weaselhead Natural Area.
The appeal application was issued on Saturday in response to a submission this summer from a Lakeview resident.
“I can confirm that the Environmental Appeals Board issued a stay to stop work yesterday morning,” Gilbert Van Nes, general counsel and settlement officer for the Environmental Appeals Board said in an e-mail to Global News Sunday. “The stay only applies to the work to fill in the 24 wetlands identified in the Approval. I understand from speaking with the KGL Constructors’ lawyers that the work has stopped. The Board has not ordered a stop to any other work being done by KGL Constructors.”
The province is using state of the art bio-engineering to alter the course of the Elbow River to make way for the bridge.
When it’s completed, the path of the Elbow River will be moved up to 1.3 kilometers. The changes are causing concerns for some environmentalists and area residents.
Opponents of the project say the bridge will damage the wetlands there and cause negative impacts downstream.
The temporary stay from the EAB will give opponents from a local group called YYC Cares to offer more input.
They propose building an open span bridge with a design similar to the Stoney Trail bridge, which crosses over the Bow River near the Trans-Canada highway.
“The clear span bridge is superior in its eco friendliness, it opens up the wildlife corridor and it doesn’t call for destruction of 24 wetlands,” said Allie Tulick, founder of YYC Cares.
The province argues they are taking extreme measures to protect the surrounding wildlife and water quality.
“Our government is committed to ensuring this project meets environmental standards and we respect the process. This is part of the process,” said Aileen Machell, a spokesman for Transportation Minister Brian Mason.
Construction started earlier this year the Tsuut’ina Trail project.