City plans to fix up trails damaged by erosion around Mill Creek is a Band-Aid solution for a larger issue, according to a representative from a community that borders the ravine.
A report to city council’s urban planning committee Tuesday outlines plans to repair three sections of trails damaged by erosion. But Ritchie Community League civics director Allan Bolstad said he wants city council to press administration to study the root cause of the degradation surrounding the waterway, which he said is creating safety concerns. Bolstad said he thinks the likely culprit is the volume of stormwater emptying into the creek from southeast Edmonton.
“It’s in trouble, it’s in serious trouble. There’s an awful lot of stormwater being funnelled down through that creek, way more than that creek can handle,” Bolstad said.
“It knocks the heck out of the banks, the trees are falling in, and of course pathways in certain spots are caving in and falling into the creek as well.”
Bolstad said repairs to the trails will be endless until the drainage issue is addressed. The work the city currently has planned would see trail repairs in the ravine from about 76 Avenue to 88 Avenue.
Adam Laughlin, deputy city manager of integrated infrastructure services, told the committee Tuesday that the work outlined in the report is necessary to keep the trail network along the ravine usable. He said that stormwater is playing a role in causing erosion.
“It is certainly a contributor, and to address that we would have to undertake a significantly larger project,” said Laughlin.
Epcor spokeswoman Amanda LeNeve said in an email Tuesday that the creek’s erosion is a complex issue with many causes such as overland drainage and water running into the ravine during storms.
She added that finding ways to reduce how much stormwater flows into Mill Creek is part of Epcor’s work on its long-term plan to reduce flood risk caused by extreme weather.
Epcor provided an update on its flood mitigation plan to city council’s utility committee on May 10. The publicly owned company is proposing spending $1.6 billion on infrastructure and operational changes to combat flood risk. The plan anticipates receiving $59 million in federal and provincial flood mitigation grants, as well as the introduction of a non-routine rate adjustment for Epcor customers that would work out to an average increase of $0.56 on monthly bills. If approved, the adjustment would be introduced before the end of 2019.
Meanwhile, Ward 10. Coun. Mike Nickel said he is working on setting up a meeting with the province to see about funding for “daylighting” the portions of the creek that run underground, having been buried during road projects in decades past.