Shoring up southeast slope to cost $28M: City of Calgary

Some homeowners in the Calgary neighbourhood of Mountain View Park are nervous about the steep slope behind their yards, fearing it could slip further towards the Bow River. Global News

The City of Calgary has announced that shoring up the slumping slopes in the southeast communities of Douglasdale and Mckenzie Lake will cost $28 million — that’s $3 million more than what was previously approved by council.

The final price-tag on the project was kept under wraps for some time, that’s because the city wanted to keep the cost low and avoid the possibility of contractors increasing their prices, officials said during a meeting on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Calgary homeowners fear ridge is slipping closer to Bow River

Problems with the slope were first detected in 2005, and while construction on the project began several years ago, in July of 2016, the work ran into several issues, including heavy rainfall and a partial pathway collapse.

To date, contractors have installed hundreds of concrete piles to shore up the hillside and have built a 300-metre long retaining wall.

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Mayor Naheed Nenshi noted that while this work is necessary, he hopes to avoid building in these types of areas in the future.

“I’ve asked for some assurances that as we are developing new communities in the future, we are taking into account that things have to be well back of these sorts of escarpments,” Nenshi said.

“I need assurances that as we are creating more communities particularly in the south along the Bow River escarpment, that we are being much more careful.”

READ MORE: Calgary man concerned that ring road construction will damage ‘bustling little ecosystem’

Nenshi also said he wondered if the city could go after the original developers to help defray the cost, but was told by a city solicitor, Denise Jakal, that wasn’t likely.

“Perhaps, when the original development was done, had we looked at going back to whether that was proper engineering,” Jakal said.

“That would have been a very complicated legal question though.”

Still, the cost of the project has frustrated many councillors, including Evan Woolley.

“I know this is important work, but this is an astonishingly large amount of money,” Woolley said.

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“I never got clarity of, ‘how did this happen, and how are we making sure this never happens again?'”

To date $21.6 million has been spent on the project and work is expected to be completed later this summer.

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