Radley Park: Rescue or Reconfigure?

The Kitimat River started eroding the city’s most popular park in 2006 and by the end of the year three sites had been claimed by the river.

In this year’s budget council put Radley Park back on the front burner.

The Kitimat River started eroding the city’s most popular park in 2006 and by the end of the year three sites had been claimed by the river.

The following September Northwest Hydraulic Consultants outlined seven options to deal with the problem.

Council of the day set aside $475,000 in its 2008 budget, but at the same time decided to go with option seven – do nothing, simply monitor the situation.

While more sites fell victim to the river, the money that had been set aside was raided for other projects and in September 2009 the final $82,000 was redirected to another bail out of the new animal shelter.

This year council approved $800,000 which Leisure Services director Martin Gould said is earmarked for “road armouring or site development.”

He said the city had hired another consultant last year to come up with ideas on how to renovate Radley Park, replace some of the sites lost and expand the park in some areas.

Gould said the next step was to take that conceptual plan and rough estimates, do some surveying and get hard estimates of the costs.

But first the city will get another hydrology report on that stretch of river.

He pointed out that since the Northwest Hydraulic Consultants report, referred to above, the large island between Radley Park and the city’s water intake on the opposite side of the river had been increasing in size.

“It’s slowly cutting off that flowing water that has been eroding sections of the park,” Gould explained. A hydrologist would be able to give the city an idea of whether that trend will continue and in turn the problem would disappear.

Gould pointed out that when it came to armouring, fisheries issues meant the city could not just pour rip-rap along the existing bank..

Instead a trench would have to be dug back from the riverbank and filled with rip rap – called passive armouring – to protect the existing road against erosion.

[That’s what the Transportation ministry did last year just north of Nalbeelah Creek to protect the Kitimat-Terrace highway.]

The alternative is to do nothing and use the road as long as possible, then abandon it and replace it with a new road on the Service Centre side of the park.

“There’s a few options,” said Gould.

But he cautioned people should not expect any major works until next year given the time it takes to go through design, costing and going out to tender.

Other money has also been set aside in the budget to upgrade the old camp site shelters, bring in new gravel for all the sites and replace rotten logs on the log washroom.

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