Friday, August 30, 2013
Recovery in progress at Calgary's largest off-leash park
City crews, contractors and volunteers continue to work hard to restore Sue Higgins Park which experienced extensive damage from the 2013 flood. The park is partially open but some sections remain closed for public and pet safety, as well as to let Mother Nature rejuvenate plant life and wildlife habitat.
The park’s fences were hit hard: 90 per cent were either damaged or compromised and at least 70 per cent of those were completely destroyed.
“Fences are an important part of this park – people like to know that their dogs are safely contained within a fenced-in area,” said Justin Brown, Parks Zone Superintendent. “Dog owners and park users have been amazing in their support and patience while our crews and volunteers work hard to repair and replace fences as quickly as possible.”
Protecting a regeneration of the park’s balsam poplar forest is also an important part of the restoration process. Floods trigger the release of seeds which then begin to take root in the silt and nutrient-rich deposits left behind when the water recedes. Parks has cordoned off at least four small sections where clusters of the new trees are sprouting, giving them a fighting chance to survive and thrive.
With help from citizen volunteers, much of the debris by the river has been cleared. This work enabled The City to reopen a large area of the park earlier than would have otherwise been possible, including access to the river for dogs to play in the water.
Other work completed to date includes restoring the regional pathway through Sue Higgins Park, reopened on Aug. 13. This section provides an important connector point for users as both the Sue Higgins Bridge and Fish Creek Bridge are closed due to damages caused by the flood.
Work will continue for some time yet at Sue Higgins Park. The City of Calgary thanks the hundreds of volunteers who have registered to help with the clean up and restoration effort at all our damaged parks.
We’re also grateful to everyone for their patience and understanding – balancing our priorities around public safety with forest rejuvenation opportunities and Fido’s love for running free takes a lot of planning, coordination and time.