City of Edmonton seeks public input on design concept for transformative river valley project

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The city of Edmonton is asking for public input on a project that would transform a well-known area of the river valley to make it more visitor friendly. But the current proposed design is getting mixed reviews from neighbours. Chris Chacon reports – Jul 24, 2021

The City of Edmonton’s Touch the Water Promenade Project is a proposed river valley revamp years in the making.

“The project as it’s currently scoped really began in 2019, the planning in the Rossdale area which would include this area did occur over the last decade,” City of Edmonton supervisor for open space planning and design Geoff Smith said.

The overall project while still just in its design phase would see the development of new visitor friendly amenities such as paths and walkways along the North Saskatchewan river’s north shore area from government house to just past the Walterdale Bridge.

Touch the Water Promenade map image. City of Edmonton/Global News

But the only location currently with approved funding to move to the third and final step of design is the area at the former Rossdale power plant.

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“We are seeking input from the public to help us with the preliminary design stage of the project , so the next level of detailed planning for this project,” Smith said.

New renderings released by the city show what the transformation would look.

Rendering of Rossdale power plant design. City of Edmonton/Global News

While it’s intended to draw people closer to the water with new walking spaces, a river side platform and potentially commercials stores like a coffee shop, the concept is getting mixed reviews from Rossdale residents.

Rick Lauber has lived in the area for roughly 15 years and said change is not necessary and there are safety concerns.

“I think if you put concrete slabs down towards the river, that’s going to bring people down towards the river which I guess is the intention but then you get little kids crawling over wet cement blocks that are probably going to go in the river,” Rossdale resident Rick Lauber said.

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Erem Ozdemir also lived in Rossdale and often walks in the area and said new development would be great for the community.

“I think it’s quite a nice area but it hasn’t been utilized correctly yet, they haven’t gotten the potential out of it, so if they are able to do something like that, it would be really awesome,” Rossdale resident Erem Ozdemir said.

Regardless the feedback, the city said it wants to hear input from Edmontonions

“There is certainly opportunity for change and refinement through this next phase,” Smith said.

Smith said project construction funding has not yet been approved, neither has a date been set for construction to begin.

Read more: Edmonton river valley gondola should advance to detailed design phase: city report

People can give their input on city’s website until August 3rd.

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