As one of the seven municipalities involved in the River Valley Alliance (RVA), Leduc County is being asked to look to the future and question how they will continue to support the next phase of the Capital Region River Valley Park.
A plan to develop a regional park, which stretches from Fort Saskatchewan to Devon along the river and encompasses more than 8,000 acres was formally adopted by the municipalities in 2007.
“It is the largest metropolitan park in Canada,” said executive director Larry Wall.
At county council’s June 7 meeting, representatives from the alliance gave a presentation to update councillors on what has been achieved so far and what is needed in the future.
Volunteer board chair Chris Sheard informed council $110 million has been acquired from three levels of government, which will cover a portion of the total project.
“We’ve embarked on a $90 million capital program,” said Sheard. This program will include 13 individual initiatives in 18 locations throughout the park.
The goal of the RVA is to have the majority of the initiatives completed this year with the rest finished by the end of 2017.
One of these initiatives is in Leduc County: land access of the south trail from Devon to Rabbit Hill. “Phase 2 of that is to go from Rabbit Hill into Edmonton,” said Wall.
The next phase of the Capital Region River Valley Park will take the RVA from 2017 to 2022. Goals include secondary trails to complete connectivity at lower costs, priority bridges, land acquisition or land access for primary trails and trails connecting bridges.
Regarding the next phase, municipalities are asked if they support the identified projects, if they will support cost sharing of future projects, and if they will support project management and maintenance of identified projects.
“We’re asking all the municipalities to look forward in their capital programs,” said Sheard. “I just ask you to have a bit of long-term (vision) in your minds.”
Coun. Audrey Kelto asked the RVA representatives if there were any plans to extend the park borders past Devon along the river to provide more access to the river, a topic she has been questioned about in the past.
“We have a fair bit of work to get done … I’m not adverse to expanding, but not at the cost of the core work we said we’d get done,” said Sheard.
Leduc County council accepted the presentation as information.