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Touch the Water Promenade / River Valley "Seawall"


Staff member
Member Bio
Sep 22, 2015
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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Mayor Don Iveson pitches new "seawall" type trail along the river
As the River Valley Alliance prepares to pitch a new series of projects on the edges of the city, Mayor Don Iveson is pitching a new one in the heart of Edmonton.

The Alliance, which is made up of municipalities in the region, presented a new list of projects they would like to build over the next five years to councillors on Wednesday.

Iveson pitched a project of his own however, looking to create a promenade like the Vancouver Seawall extending along the north-shore of the river from the Walterdale Bridge to Government House Park.

Iveson said it would fill a real need in the city and could lead to seasonal coffee shops and other amenities in the valley.

“We have so many people running and biking and walking their dogs and power walking along River Valley Road right now that it’s actually getting quite congested,” he said.

Full Story (Metro Edmonton)

Edmonton's mayor wants new river valley park for north bank
Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson proposed a new urban park Wednesday along the North Saskatchewan River, likening it to Vancouver’s popular seawall.

It would feature an expanded walking and biking area between Groat Road and the Walterdale Bridge, with small parks, benches and places to get down to the water. This would build on the Touch the Water project below the Hotel Macdonald, which features wide, park-like stairs and benches alongside a funicular. It is scheduled to open in the fall of 2017.

“When people see that, they’re going to say: ‘This is fantastic. I want to see more of this,’ ” said Iveson, after a meeting to discuss River Valley Alliance capital projects for 2017 through 2022. “I want to get ahead of that and get a preliminary sense of what would be involved in extending that kind of experience.”

Full Story (Edmonton Journal)
David Staples: Riverwalk will demand all of mayor's political clout to become reality
There’s no more refreshing, serene and scenic place in Edmonton than the shores of the North Saskatchewan River. It’s a shame we utilize it so poorly. It represents a failure of public vision and political will.

So long as Edmonton lacks a riverwalk like Winnipeg, a boardwalk like New Westminster or a seawall like Vancouver — some extensive and permanent path built right along the river’s edge that is easily accessible for both the young and the old — we’re wasting a huge opportunity to increase our happiness and well-being.

The good news is Mayor Don Iveson finally has a plan to build a seawall-like path. He envisions the riverwalk starting at the planned Touch the Water public plaza and promenade, which is to open in 2017 in Rossdale, then running along the water’s edge parallel to River Road, ending up at the park near the Groat bridge. Iveson sees it as a great public space akin to the piers area in New Westminster, which is built along the Fraser River with a boardwalk of piers, shops, a beach and a park.

Our river valley is our biggest amenity, but it’s wide and deep with much of the city set way back, so people don’t feel connected to the water, architect Brian Allsopp says.

Most of our river valley trails are cut into the woods, away from the river’s edge. “They’re basically a great path for cycling and walking, but you don’t really get a sense of the river in many places.”

Full Story (Edmonton Journal)
Massive change is coming to the downtown river valley so we can better enjoy our most precious treasure, the North Saskatchewan River.

A series of improvements to the Rossdale Flats is in the works and more are being dreamed up, with Edmonton’s civic visionaries contemplating more parks, paths, restaurants, residential apartments, museums and, most importantly, a river walk right at the water’s edge.

Nothing at this level of major change gets done without the mayor of the day strenuously doing all she or he can to make it happen, which is why I find it encouraging that Mayor Don Iveson is the one suggesting the river walk.

If you ask Edmontonians what they love about the city, the most consistent answer is the river valley, Iveson says. People who have access to it today wouldn’t change much except maybe adding washrooms and the odd place to get a cup of coffee and soup.

“For everybody else, they love the idea of the river valley, but they don’t make regular use of it,” Iveson says.
Visions for a North Shore Promenade (River Valley Road) being discussed at Urban Planning Committee today:
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Also interesting tidbit in the attachments seems to imply the city may be looking at something...different for Victoria Golf Course. I've long said this could be our Central Park if we had the will. Mayhaps we do after all.



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City vows to go ahead with public consultation on Touch the Water project
A proposal reimagining the north banks of the North Saskatchewan as a pedestrian-friendly promenade returned to the urban planning committee Tuesday with two new potential designs.

City staff unveiled the designs for the area west of the Walterdale Bridge — both featuring bike lanes and viewing platforms overlooking the river — and got a commitment from councillors to move forward on public consultations for the Touch the Water project.

“I look forward to what Edmontonians have to say about the different options,” Mayor Don Iveson said. “Would they see it as desirable? Would they want to go to it themselves? Would they bring their families and their out-of-town guests there?”

City wants to move quickly with Touch the Water project along river
A proposed promenade along the North Saskatchewan River near the old Rossdale power plant could include large stairs leading to a path along the riverside, with seating and a viewing deck.

Two visions for the Touch the Water Promenade were presented Tuesday to city council's urban planning committee.
Mayor Don Iveson said the project could be an answer for the Edmontonians who want the accidental beach that formed along the river's south bank last summer to become a permanent attraction.

"This might be a more sustainable, safe, and more effectively programmable kind of opportunity to do that," Iveson said.

Committee members asked administrators to prepare a new funding request for the project, so that it can be considered in the next funding cycle, that runs from 2019 to 2022.
Has anything materialized on this? I've seen the recent work on Touch the Water promenade but haven't heard much on the North Shore. I'm assuming they are still being treated as two separate projects?
Let’s talk about a new riverfront promenade
October 29, 2019

The river valley is one of Edmonton’s greatest assets, a place people have been drawn to and gathered for thousands of years. The City of Edmonton is looking to improve access to and within the river valley, creating enhanced opportunities for ecological connections, recreation, celebration, heritage interpretation and social gathering with a project called the Touch the Water Promenade.

Edmontonians are invited to participate in this first round of public engagement, to learn more about the project, ask questions and share their vision for this project.

Public Engagement Pop-up Events:

Date: Thursday, October 31
Time: 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Location: Edmonton Tower Lobby, 10111 104 Avenue NW

Date: Saturday, November 9
Time: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Location: Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre, 11000 Stadium Road NW

Date: Saturday, November 16
Time: 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Location: Kinsmen Sports Centre, 9100 Walterdale Hill NW

An online survey will also be available for those who are unable to attend in person, and will be posted to the project webpage in early November 2019. All feedback gathered during this phase of engagement will inform concept design options, which will be shared with the public for further feedback.

This project will focus on a central stretch of the North Saskatchewan River Valley in two connected areas. One area is adjacent to the Rossdale neighbourhood and the other is upstream on the north shore of the river, along River Valley Road. The Promenade is proposed to extend from Rossdale along the northern bank of the river to Government House Park, west of Groat Road Bridge.

I really like both ideas here and what they'll do for the river valley, but since we can only choose one I'd say I like Threads better. If this concept plays out like in the vision, what's essentially going to be made is a massive linear park stretching from Groat Road to Rossdale, and I LOVE THAT! The River Valley Road trail is already arguably one of the most trafficked and utilized parts of our river valley, so upgrading it with large separated-by-mode paths, large promenades overlooking the river and south shore (a beautiful hidden view if I may add), new interpretive spaces and better landscape architecture will give us a product that is has the potential to be iconic and world-class and will set the blueprint to make improvements to surrounding parks down the line. The only thing that I'll suggest in my feedback will be to use more creative materials (and re-used materials like metal, bricks, plastics, wood etc.) to create these spaces, not just the go-to concrete and cured wood that we see so often in these kinds of projects.