Edmonton’s River Valley nears National Urban Park status


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Edmonton is on the verge of having urban green spaces like the River Valley designated a National Urban Park.

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The federal government this week announced the launch of a “pre-feasibility” phase to study options for what the creation of a national urban park for the region would look like, including who would operate it. Parks Canada, the City of Edmonton and local Indigenous groups will work to create a “vision” for the site and conduct engagement activities.

According to Parks Canada, recognizing urban parks – like the River Valley – in this way would give Edmontonians better access to green spaces, help people spend more time in nature, create jobs, strengthen the local economy and boost tourism. .

Edmonton would be the first city in Western Canada to join the new National Urban Parks Program if it comes to fruition, which was announced in August 2021 and includes the first urban national park, Rouge National Urban Parknear Toronto.

“We are ready to accommodate the visitor economy and share a space that is 22 times the size of New York’s Central Park,” said federal Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault, MLA for Edmonton Centre. “And when you have an asset like (the river valley), it makes sense to share it with Canadians and with people around the world.”

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Parks in the federal system would be governed differently depending on a region’s needs and wants, he said.

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi has floated the idea of ​​making the river valley a national park ahead of the 2021 municipal elections.

This designation, he writes in a blog post last August, could give the city access to federal conservation funds and promote the city’s reputation nationally as “a beautiful place to experience nature in the middle of our city.”

On Monday, he said a national urban park designation would help the city fund infrastructure and education and encourage more people to enjoy the outdoors.

“A future national urban park will mean that people who have not felt welcome in Edmonton’s green spaces will have equitable access and a renewed sense of place,” he said.

“It’s vital for our city to attract and retain talented and passionate people, to activate new investments and to attract world-class events and festivals.”




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