If an accidental, but very popular, summer attraction emerges again in Edmonton’s river valley this summer, the city has put some mitigation measures in place to address concerns.
Accidental Beach became an accessible sandy spot for Edmontonians wanting to enjoy the sun and water right in the heart of the city last year but it created some issues for the Cloverdale community.
This year, city officials are implementing set hours for the beach, installing portable toilets, bike racks and more garbage cans.
“We are increasing our frequency of garbage pickup this year,” Rhonda Norman, the city’s director of river valley trails, explained. “We noticed there were some issues last year with overflowing garbages so that frequency will increase and we’ll continue to monitor it.”
In the form of a pilot project, the neighbourhood will have restricted public parking.
“Residents-parking only in front of streets and avenues in front of residential properties,” Norman said.
“There will be unrestricted public parking available along greenways and down the west side of Cloverdale Hill Road as well as two-hour parking on 98A Avenue for patrons to access the beach but there will be certainly limited parking compared to last year.”
The city also hopes to address the community’s concerns through a wider public education Good Neighbour Campaign.
“Last year we saw some really inappropriate behaviour and it really had an impact on the Cloverdale community so we are reminding people: if you are visiting the beach, to please pick up after yourself.
“Dogs are required to be on leash, there is no fires permitted, no alcohol, no loud music and we are implementing park hours for this year.”
Accidental Beach will be open to the public between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. Anyone there after 11 p.m. will be asked to leave.
The city is adding “proactive enforcement” in the form of additional peace officers, rangers, and parking enforcement officers patrolling the area. In the case of criminal or nuisance issues, police will be called.
Norman said the changes come alongside educational efforts about potential dangers of using Accidental Beach.
“We’re not restricting access but we certainly want people to understand some of the hazards that might occur if they do visit the beach, as with anywhere else in the river valley system.
“Some of those hazards include fluctuating water, changing water levels, debris in the sand, as well water quality not meeting recreational water quality guidelines. It’s a flowing body of water so we just want to make sure people understand it can be very dynamic and change very quickly.”