PHOTO BY JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff A track hoe operator works downstream of the new bridge at Discovery Canyon Friday afternoon.

Discovery Canyon refurbishment almost complete

First upgrade to the Red Deer attraction

Discovery Canyon will reopen in June as scheduled and in time for warm weather.

The inner tube and wading attraction closed last summer to do $2 million in upgrades to repair the stream bed, improve access to the lower portion of the stream, upgrade the main entry walkway, and increase overall safety and accessibility. The beach and playground areas are also being enhanced.

Project superintendent Curtis Martinek said the majority of work was completed last year and work resumed earlier this spring.

“We’re just finalizing the last bit of work. There’s a little bit of asphalt trail to put in, some railings, and some landscaping to finish up,” Martinek said.

“We’ll have to do a test run to make sure everything is running smoothly because we put in some new pumps to run the system.”

He said it’s the first upgrade for the city amenity since it was constructed in the 80s.

“It has changed because it’s all new, but it’s still the same concept. You float down the water on a tube and play in the water at the bottom and enjoy the sand.”

A new water area for young children has been added where they can sit and splash around as water trickles by them. An old playground structure was removed last year and a new one will be installed in the summer.

Resurfacing the stream and wading area was the biggest part of the project, he said.

“Because it was built back in the 80s it was a mixture of concrete and paving stone and asphalt that in some locations was cracked and broken and rough to the skin. That has all been ripped out, recontoured, reshaped.”

He said the natural appearance of site was kept, and the beach area has been expanded so there will be more room for parents to spread out a towel and sit in the sand to enjoy the sun while watching children play in the water.

Access to Discovery Canyon is free. Located in the northeast corner of the city beside River Bend Golf and Recreation Area, people can either bring their own tubes or rent them on site.

Martinek said the opening of Discovery Canyon for the season always depends on the weather, but it’s expected to open either June 1 or the first weekend of June.

Other work underway in the area is a parking lot expansion next to the water feature, paving work on the access road and upgrading to the septic system.

Cross-country ski trails are also getting improved ahead of the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

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