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New rules for Accidental Beach now in effect

Edmonton's Accidental Beach on June 21, 2018.
Edmonton's Accidental Beach on June 21, 2018. Eric Beck, Global News

First thing on Friday morning, city crews began making some physical changes to the Cloverdale neighbourhood because of Accidental Beach. Parking restrictions went in place, and there’s a change in the speed limit.

“Today is the start of the restrictive parking program in Cloverdale, so that’s on streets and avenues,” said Rhonda Norman, the city’s director of river valley trails. “For residents with a valid permit, they will able to park in front of their properties.”

There’s also parking at what Norman described as green spaces, next to the Cloverdale Community League, Galagher Park, as well as further away at Rafters Landing and two-hour parking along 98A Avenue between 96A Street and 95 Street.

READ MORE: City prepares for Accidental Beach by implementing parking, garbage, enforcement changes

A message board has also gone up, telling people about the change in the speed limit.

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“In addition to the parking restrictions, there’s a reduced speed limit that’s temporarily in place,” Norman said. “It’s a one-year pilot project to assess the effectiveness of speed reduction along 98 Avenue. So it’s gone from 60 km/h to 50 km/h along 98 Avenue between 91 Street and 96A Street.”

As reported earlier, city officials are implementing set hours for the beach, installing portable toilets, bike racks and more garbage cans. You’ll see peace officers more often as well. 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.

Things have started slowly.

“If you look at the site right now there’s still a lot of standing water between the shoreline and where the sand deposit is, so people are wading through the water. But it isn’t the size or scale of August of last year.”

READ MORE: Edmonton’s Accidental Beach making a comeback

The history lesson that Norman is quick to point out is, there is no guarantee we’ll see the boom we did last year. That’s because of the runoff from the mountains that feeds the North Saskatchewan River. It was so severe in 2016, that by August they were closing boat launches — the complete opposite conditions to what we saw last year when the beach formed.

“It really depends on Mother Nature.”

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Norman said the city is planning a social media campaign to give regular updates on the status of the beach, as well as safety tips as the conditions are expected to change on a regular basis.