Taking a walk by the river in downtown Calgary feels a little more refined today as part of the new Eau Claire Promenade is now officially open.
Pedestrians walking on the south side of the Bow River east of the Peace Bridge will now find a tiled concrete walkway, new greenery, and new benches and chairs among the improvements.
What’s more, the upgrades to the area have flood mitigation features built in.
Calgarian Les Parsons called the walkway fantastic, but he also questioned whether or not it was a bit over the top.
“I can’t imagine how much money this is costing the City of Calgary,” he said.
He suggested they could’ve achieved the same results with asphalt for a much lower price.
“The number of people who were put to work to do this, and all these blocks, it just seems like it has taken a very, very long time and could’ve been accomplished a lot quicker.”
However area councillor Druh Farrell explained that the upgrades were funded by a mix of private, city and provincial dollars.
She said area developer Concord Pacific chipped in, and money from the Eau Claire Improvement Fund was also used to accent flood mitigation funding.
“We wanted to ensure the flood protection of Eau Claire was seamless and appeared as part of the design,” said Farrell.
Before the creation of the promenade, Farrell said the pathway in that area was oversubscribed with walkers and cyclists crowding each other out on the popular walkway.
Cyclists are now diverted to a separate cycle path just to the side of the main promenade.
The city hadn’t anticipated how many people would want to hang out on and near the Peace Bridge, which has become a tourist attraction. More seating and a “delta” area just south of the bridge will give people a place to take photos and be near the bridge, without blocking the flow of walkers and cyclists.