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‘A beautiful fluke’: Valley Line LRT construction inadvertently creates beach in Edmonton’s river valley
Published Saturday, August 19, 2017 6:25PM MDT
A controversial project in the Cloverdale neighbourhood unintentionally birthed a place most Edmontonians could all agree on.
There is now a beach by the North Saskatchewan River, near the site where crews have been working to demolish the Cloverdale Footbridge for an LRT line.
Councillor Scott McKeen says the beach is a silver lining from a divisive project – and it wasn’t even planned.
“City council didn’t plan this,” McKeen said. “It’s amazing. A good idea came out of nowhere, and I think it’s amazing.”
The Ward 6 councillor said the sand was formed after a rock from the construction created eddies that, combined with the sediment from the river, formed the unexpected beach.
Now the question is: Will the city decide to preserve it?
“Mayor Mandel talked about creating a beach in Hawrelak,” McKeen said. “We, early in this term, this council, talked about creating – I think it was called an urban beach – which was sand and volleyball courts up in Louise McKinney Park.
“So we’ve been sort of circling this idea. This may have come out of nowhere, sort of as a bit of unintended consequence of the LRT construction, and we should seriously ponder keeping it.”
The next step for city council would be to estimate a cost and let the public weigh in.
News of the hidden tropical area is spreading quickly, with people from all over the city checking out the new spot for themselves.
“It’s kinda nice. It’s just a little bit of an oasis in Edmonton,” Sandra Thomsen said. Her husband, Paul, liked it, too: “It’s turned out better than I expected it to be.”
For now, Edmontonians can take advantage of the beach for the rest of the summer. And maybe it will stay for good.
“Imagine having a legitimate swimming, sun-tanning beach right on the river,” McKeen said.
With files from Angela Jung