Posted by Mike Greaney on Jul 26, 2019

On Tuesday July 23rd Brent Collingwood gave a fascinating presentation on his work as Executive Director with the River Valley Alliance.

Ask an Edmontonian what sets the city apart and the river valley will invariably be near the top of their list.  As keen as we are to claim bragging rights to this incredible resource we actually share this pristine tract with six other municipalities. In 1996 the River Valley Alliance was formed to preserve and enhance this area.  A key feature of their master plan is to establish an interconnected path that will bridge existing trails and extend for 100 km through the Town of Devon, Parkland County, Leduc County, The City of Edmonton, Strathcona County, Sturgeon County and the City of Fort Saskatchewan.

The heart of Edmonton’s portion of the river valley, along what is currently Kinsmen Park,  was actually an industrial hub early in the city’s existence.  Coal mines, lumber yards, brick yards and a host of other businesses had established themselves in the area early in the 20th century.  City planners at the time were keen on creating a garbage dump further along the river.  A devastating flood in 1915 levelled the area and effectively hit the reset button on the central river valley.  This clean slate permitted city managers to give credence to esteemed landscape architect Frederick Gage Todd’s previous proposal for a preserved river valley park.

The River Valley Alliance and it’s ongoing projects are funded by equal federal, provincial and municipal contributions.  The organization shares stewardship of an 18,000 acre area, about 18 times the size of Vancouver’s Stanley Park.  Each of the Alliance’s initiatives aim for a balanced approach to preserve, protect and enhance the river valley.

For more information on the River Valley Alliance and it’s activities or to get involved go to https://rivervalley.ab.ca/get-involved/ambassador-program/