It is the premier spot to catch the show in the sky. When the fireworks light up over the Calgary Stampede grounds, Scotsman’s Hill has the perfect perspective.
Over the course of the 10-day event, thousands gather along the ridge in the community of Ramsay. In preparation, the community has ongoing conversations with city officials for proper planning with traffic and parking.
But according to Erin Joslin, the vice-president of the community association, something fell through the cracks during those discussions.
“Somehow this conversation got missed, the fact they were pouring sidewalks. That’s a disappointment,” Joslin said.
“How do we ensure we don’t rip up sidewalks on the week of Stampede when we know our neighbourhood is full of external community neighbours.”
Joslin is concerned about safety. A number of the sidewalks have been ripped up. Some have freshly poured concrete and the barricades are a burden for pedestrians and cyclists, especially after dark.
“After the fireworks, people are leaving all at the same time and it’s hard to see things,” Joslin said. “Those pits are deep right now.
“If there’s an injury, emergency access will be tough.”
Charles Daniel cycles through the area often and said the timing is unfortunate.
“It’s a moderate inconvenience, and it leaves me resentful that there is a better way,” Daniel said.
Those with accessibility challenges, like Diane Nickel, are grateful for the fix to the sidewalks and curbs, appreciating the long-term impact. But she said with no parking on the hill, navigating the construction would make access impossible.
“I respect the fact you can’t park along here, and understand these people living here have an issue with that, but where are people supposed to go? That’s the big issue,” Nickel said.
Typically, construction projects are put on hold for the duration of Stampede. Sherri Zickefoose with the City of Calgary said due to the pandemic, overdue projects had to push forward.
“We are working with our concrete sidewalk and curb contractor to ensure safe pedestrian and traffic accommodation is provided in Ramsay,” Zickefoose said.
“With the extreme heat last week and then recent rains, productivity by our contractor has been lowered and has caused some delays. However, we will continue to work with Bowmark to address any concerns.”
But Ramsay residents like Kevin Paisley wish crews could have waited until after the pryotechnics were all packed up.
“It’s poor timing. This hill gets congested, parking is an issue and the city just doesn’t seem to care,” Paisley said.