Bowness Park was hit hard by the 2013 flood, with areas of the park experiencing up to five feet of flooding. The onslaught of water badly damaged the buildings, lagoon, pathways and picnic areas.
In the interest of public safety, Bowness Park remains closed and is not anticipated to reopen this year. Prior to the flood, Bowness was undergoing a three-year redevelopment initiative (2012 – 2015) to support an increased number of visitors, boost the park’s environmental health, and complete much needed maintenance upgrades.
In 2012, berms (commonly referred to as spurs) were placed along the shoreline to protect the river bank as part of the redevelopment initiative. Comprised of large boulders that jut out from the land into the river, the spurs help reduce bank erosion by breaking up rising overland waters – thereby preventing ripping of the shore.
While the spurs of rock did their job in helping to protect many parts of the shoreline, other areas of the park still need repair. Pathways are cracked and uneven, picnic sites have been filled with debris, and the culvert that controls the water level of the lagoon was damaged due to erosion of the soil around it.
Some of the smaller pieces of debris will be left at Bowness Park for naturalization, as the organic material contains nutrients that are good for the soil.
Parks crews are working seven days a week to assess and repair the flood damage in order to continue with the redevelopment initiative. Parks has assessed the buildings and pathways, and is currently determining the impact on the utilities within the park. The amount of damage resulting from the flood will likely delay the redevelopment initiative by a year.
While the redevelopment initiative may be slightly delayed, the goal of the project remains unchanged: to restore Bowness Park to its 100 year heritage and ensure the health and sustainability of one of Calgary’s highest use parks for generations to come.
Visit Calgary.ca/parks for more information on Bowness Park and other parks across Calgary.