Jessica and Jack Huber stroll along the existing trail in Riverside Meadows on Wednesday afternoon. The plan to extend the trail received approval from the municipal planning commission. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Trail extension for Riverside Meadows

Development permit approved

The trails in Riverside Meadows will be extended to enhance the city’s Waskasoo Park system and promote safety in the area.

Wednesday, the municipal planning commission unanimously approved a development permit for the one-kilometre project that will run from 60th Street to 54th Avenue and connect to an existing trail on the north side of Riverside Meadows.

Parks superintendent Trevor Poth said people already cut through the wooded areas along the escarpment.

“There’s a lot of wear patterns that go through that escarpment, so a lot of people are short cutting between Oriole Park, Highland Green and Riverside Meadows and using that escarpment as their shortest access point,” Poth said.

“By connecting a formal trail through there, we’re actually able to connect our overall Waskasoo Park system through Oriole Park, down to Bower Ponds, all the way through Riverside Meadows and the CPR Bridge, so it’s a really essential link.”

He said formal trails are an amazing crime prevention tool because people using them will see what is going on in the area to report issues such as homeless camps. Trails also give RCMP bike patrols and bylaw officers access to the area.

See related:

Proposed trails for Riverside Meadows could provide “natural surveillance”

Red Deer council says ‘yes’ to Riverside Meadows upgrades, ‘no’ to fence at CP Rail Bridge

Two new sections of multi-purpose asphalt trail will be constructed. The first portion starts on 60th Street in Highland Green and runs north to connect with an existing path at the end of Howarth Street Close.

The second portion starts at the east end of the Howarth Street Close trail and continues on the north side of Riverside Meadows to connect to 54th Avenue.

Poth said the trails will also provide safer access to the local toboggan slope, give runners another opportunity to create an exercise loop through the city, and introduce more people to the beauty of the area.

The $200,000 to $300,000 city project will go out to tender this year and the bids will determine the construction schedule, he said.

Construction will require some tree removal and grading, but highly valued trees will be protected and preserved.

Extending the trails was identified a few years ago as part of the Riverside Meadows Redevelopment Plan.

Maskapatoon Park trails, completed in 2013, were the last major trails constructed in the Waskasoo Park system.

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