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Edmonton looking at ways to mitigate ‘nuisances and risks’ at Accidental Beach

Could Edmonton’s Accidental Beach become permanent?
WATCH ABOVE: The city is looking at ways to make Edmonton's Accidental Beach permanent or at the very least, find a different spot along the river to enjoy. Kendra Slugoski reports.

City administration has been asked to look at short-term and long-term options for the future of Edmonton’s Accidental Beach.

On Wednesday, councillors passed two motions related to beach planning.

READ MORE: City administration looking into what needs to be done to keep accidental beach

In the long-term, administration will consider if the beach is feasible and if there are any other possible locations for an urban beach.

In the short-term, councillors asked administration to come up with a plan to mitigate nuisances and risks for the 2018 summer season (including improved bus service, late night restrictions, parking restrictions, traffic flow and temporary infrastructure) and engage with other orders of government on relevant matters.

The short-term plan should be back to council by Feb. 28, 2018.

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READ MORE: Report spells out the many hurdles facing Edmonton’s Accidental Beach 

Councillor Ben Henderson said Edmontonians were given a gift this past summer, but he noted that gift has been a headache for many people living in Cloverdale.

“I think now, with a little more advanced notice, hopefully we can be better prepared. There were huge issues with traffic in the neighbourhood.”

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City administration has been asked to fast-track parking permits for the area that were already in the works for the upcoming LRT.

It’s a start for Reg Kontz, president of the Cloverdale Community League.

Kontz told councillors about late-night noise, tipped porta-potties and “bags of human excrement.”

“It’s one thing to be there for a couple of hours,” he said. “It’s something else to be there day in and day out.”

“When I went down to the beach, I’d come out with a shopping bag of garbage every time.”

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Kontz compared the Accidental Beach to the Wild West and said his neighbours don’t want to spend another summer picking beer bottles out of their gardens.

READ MORE: Police, park rangers, animal control to monitor Edmonton’s ‘accidental beach’ after complaints

The city will report back this year to see if a long-term beach is feasible.

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“Not just that beach,” Roger Jevne, the city’s branch manager for community rec facilities, said, “but to see if there are other locations at a number of park sites to spread out the fun and maybe take a bit of the load off the Cloverdale Community League.”

READ MORE: 630 CHED celebrates end of summer 2017 with accidental beach party

By 2020 the story likely will be completely different.

“After the LRT construction, the bridge will be there and under our current environmental permits with the LRT those berms will have to come out,” Jevne told 630 CHED.

The amount of snow Edmonton gets this winter, and other environmental conditions in the spring, will dictate what possible beach-goers be looking at when beach weather rolls around in 2018.

— With files from Global’s Emily Mertz and Scott Johnston, 630 CHED