In 2010, The City of Calgary expropriated an abandoned gravel pit along the Bow River with the intention of restoring riparian and upland habitat. The site also presented an opportunity for major end-of-pipe stormwater quality improvements (1,775 hectares of stormwater drainage), something not contemplated in the original acquisition of the lands, and something arguably contradictory to the original restoration intent.
To bridge the two design intents —one informed by ecological restoration of the landscape, the other with water resource engineering— we lead the conceptual development of the project and fostered a collaborative design approach between City departments (Water, Parks, Public art) and the consultants (O2 Planning+Design,Source2Source and AECOM).
The driver behind the design is the use stormwater treatment as an opportunity, making the water journey trough its different stages visible throughout and creating a variety of habitats as part of the restoration of the ecological integrity of the landscape. Instead of a standard imperceptible and visually disconnected treatment system, the journey of stormwater through the park and its creation of different habitats are made apparent. The different stages of the active treatment train are designed as distinct environments defined by their specific treatment functions, and the transitions between the stages highlighted. Open water, running water, marshland, riparian, wet meadows, all at once the stormwater is creating habitat, being cleaned, and expressing the processes at work. The park expands the possibilities of connection and appreciation of the complexities of watershed management.
Throughout the development of the project the diverse disciplines informed and collaborated on a unique design, integrating and building on the expertise of each partners.
In collaboration with O2 Planning+Design,Source2Source and AECOM.
The park opens to the public Summer 2019. The City will name the park in honour of Dale Hodges.
Images courtesy of Wilco Southwest.