Touch the Water and Mechanized Access: Bringing citizens to the valley

I recently wrote an article on the River Valley Alliance (RVA) that detailed its history, and an outline on the RVA’s $90 million Capital Project to improve public access to the North Saskatchewan River. At Tuesday’s Executive Committee meeting, two of the RVA’s major projects -- Mechanized Access and the Touch the Water Promenade -- were presented to Council for consideration.  

Mechanized Access 


This project would see the construction of an inclined elevator similar to one  located in the Shaw  Conference Centre, ultimately linking the top of the valley to the bottom of the valley and  increasing the accessibility to the river valley for users of all abilities.

Four locations were presented to Council, and it was ultimately decided that the 100 Street McDougall Hill location (concept plan pictured) would provide the highest potential for usage at one of the valley’s steepest inclines. This location would see the construction of an inclined elevator leading to a platform several feet above the roadway, which would then connect to a pedestrian footbridge over Rossdale Road, eventually linking into the river valley trail system.


Touch the Water Promenade


 The promenade, similar to the one in Louise McKinney Park, is an element that connects the new  Walterdale Bridge to the north bank, and creates a place where users can potentially utilize the  riverfront in ways that haven’t been possible. Imagine enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning to  start your day, grabbing a quick lunch with friends in the afternoon, or a having glass of  wine  within reaching distance of Edmonton’s crowning jewel; Touch the Water Promenade can make this  vision a reality.

Together, both of these projects have the purpose of enhancing the connectivity between the new Walterdale Bridge, the repurposed Rossdale Generating Station and West Rossdale. Additionally, they will enhance the connectivity and usability of the North Saskatchewan River Valley.  

$24 million is being allocated to the Mechanized Access project and $10 million is being allocated to the Touch the Water Promenade. The Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments are each covering a third of the $34 million cost. The Federal government’s funding expires in 2017. To ensure the 2017 deadline is met, at yesterday’s Executive Committee meeting Council made the following motion:

That Administration proceed with development of options for the mechanized access project with the priorities being:

  • Mechanized access north of the river, with a preference for 100 Street

  • Expansion of the Touch the Water Promenade

  • Mechanized access south of the river on 105 Street

The report is due back to Executive Committee by September 30, 2014.