City of Red Deer employees put up flagging around a cave or hole near Sunnybrook Farm Museum Friday. It appears as though someone or group of people have dug into the creek bank.

City to fill in cave found in creek bank for safety reasons

City workers will soon be filling in a cave dug into the creek bank by Sunnybrook Farm Museum, as well as dealing with a longtime, outdoor party place near Piper Creek.

City workers will soon be filling in a cave dug into the creek bank by Sunnybrook Farm Museum, as well as dealing with a longtime, outdoor party place near Piper Creek.

Parks superintendent Trevor Poth said that in February, a bylaw officer discovered the cave, roughly three metres wide by 1.5 metres high. It was dug and used for shelter by the homeless.

“We’ve had a couple of underground structures dug through the years. It’s not super abnormal. Certainly the location of this one was a little bit interesting because it’s so completely isolated in the park,” said Poth on Friday about the cave along Piper Creek.

A pickaxe and hammer were found inside. A fire pit was located near the entrance.

Built about three metres above the current water level in the creek, the cave didn’t impact spring runoff and no slope issues were identified, he said.

This week, city workers drilled a hole from the top of the bank into the cave, located about 500 metres west of the walking trail between Kin Kanyon and Bower Place and 30 metres below the museum.

“We’re going to make it uninhabitable. We’re actually going to fill it up. We’re going to put a low-strength concrete slurry in there,” said Ron Wardner, construction and maintenance superintendent with the city’s Environmental Services Department.

“We need to make it safe. There is potential for a cave-in.”

Filling it in from the top means avoiding environmental damage to the creek from heavy equipment, he said.

Cement will be poured early next week.

Wardner said the cave is boarded up to keep people out and hold in the mix of sand and concrete until it sets.

Poth said the cave project will cost the city about $7,000 and another $200,000 will be spent on renewing about one acre of adjacent forest that has been heavily used for bush parties and by people on bikes.

“What we’re doing is reclaiming it with interpretative opportunities and some more formalized trail development through the area, as well as for re-naturalization to occur, to encourage appropriate use and discourage some of that inappropriate activity that was taking place.”

Remediation signs will be installed on paths into the area and bylaw enforcement will be stepped up.

Crews will begin their work next week.

He said enhancing public access to the area will actually help protect the forest, similar to the development of Maskepetoon Park.

Poth said people should be using the park system, but appropriately, to leave it intact for the next generation and for the health of city ecosystems.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Pro-pipelines rally draws crowd to City Hall

Canadian Taxpayers Federation says Canada missing out on billions in revenue

Red Deer Hospice celebrates hitting fundraising halfway mark

Red Deer Hospice Society in middle of $5.2-million expansion

Separate events raised funds for Alzheimer’s and cancer

Nearly half of Canadians will be diagnosed with a form of cancer in their lifetimes.

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

VANCOUVER — A former Liberal environment minister is urging Prime Minister Justin… Continue reading

School bus driver charged with drunk driving

THE CANADIAN PRESS EDMONTON — Three impaired driving-related charges have been laid… Continue reading

Canadians in Hong Kong worried for neighbours as protests roil former colony

As mass protests in Hong Kong grab headlines around the world, expatriate… Continue reading

To hit environment goals, feds should create ‘super’ tax credit, report says

OTTAWA — A government-struck expert panel is calling for new “super-deduction” tax… Continue reading

Calgary’s Michael Klukas to live childhood ambition in Stampeders opener

CALGARY — The dream never died for Michael Klukas. Born and raised… Continue reading

Thompson sustains torn left ACL in Warriors’ Game 6 loss

OAKLAND, Calif. — Klay Thompson sustained a torn ACL in his left… Continue reading

Championship timeline: Reliving the Toronto Raptors’ road to the NBA title

The Toronto Raptors captured their first NBA championship in franchise history on… Continue reading

Top 20 Global Concert Tours from Pollstar

The Top 20 Global Concert Tours ranks artists by average box office… Continue reading

Swift calls out homophobes on new song, announces 7th album

NEW YORK — Taylor Swift’s latest song has a new target: homophobes.… Continue reading

Blue Jays hit 3 HRs, notch 17 hits in 12-3 rout of Orioles

Blue Jays 12, Orioles 3 BALTIMORE — Lourdes Gurriel Jr. homered to… Continue reading

Most Read