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The City is developing a new concept design for the central stretch of the river valley in 2 distinct project areas: Rossdale and the North Shore.

Project Overview

The river valley is a place people have been drawn to and gathered at since time immemorial. The City is exploring ways to improve access to the central river valley with the Touch the Water Promenade project. If the project moves forward, it would include opportunities to celebrate heritage, encourage recreation and connect people with nature.

Project Update - June 2021

The What We Heard report and the Concept Design (19MB) from Stage 2 of the Touch the Water Promenade’s public engagement is now available for you to review. We thank everyone who provided feedback on the last stage of engagement in November 2020. Your input, along with wisdom and advice shared by regional Indigenous Nations and Communities, results from technical studies, and City policy direction helped us to refine, adjust and improve the draft concept design options in order to develop a single final concept design.

The concept design will act as a blueprint for future development in the project area that reflects a shared vision for the central river valley, and will serve as a long-term plan that could be implemented in phases over time.

The Touch the Water Promenade project is currently in the planning and design stages and is not funded for construction at this time. 

Rossdale and North Shore Areas

The Rossdale Area has been approved for additional design and this work will get underway including the next phase of Indigenous and public engagement this summer. This engagement will help the project team shape the preliminary design for the Rossdale area, including the site surrounding the Rossdale Power Plant and pump houses.

At this time, design for the North Shore Area has concluded with completion of the concept phase. However, additional engagement opportunities will be provided should funding be approved for the next phases of design.

Next Steps

Completing this planning and design work now will prepare us to provide recommendations to Council to move the project forward when the time is right. If the project moves forward, it would include opportunities to celebrate heritage, encourage recreation and connect people with nature.

A design progress update report on the  project is scheduled to go to the City Council Executive Committee on June 28, 2021. For more information regarding Council and Committee meetings, and opportunities to request to speak, please visit edmonton.ca/meetings.

Project Details

The Touch the Water Promenade will focus on a central stretch of the north bank along the North Saskatchewan River Valley in 2 connected areas. One area is adjacent to the Rossdale neighbourhood and the other is upstream of the river, along River Valley Road to Government House Park.

Design work will focus on 2 distinct and connected project areas and will align with, and build on, the policy direction from Breathe: Edmonton’s Green Network Strategy, Ribbon of Green and River Crossing.

This project includes a wide range of technical studies, expertise and considerations as well as landscape architectural design and engagement. The technical studies and expertise include archaeology and paleontology, geotechnical and hydrological engineering, civil and structural engineering, fish and aquatic biologists, environmental scientists and biologists, and cost estimating consultants.

This project is in the early stages of planning and design. It is not yet funded for construction. The planning process for Touch the Water, including engagement, is essential to ensuring that we “get it right”, and will give us a blueprint for future development that reflects a shared vision for the north shore of the river valley between Government House Park and Rossdale.

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Project Roadmap

Locations

The Rossdale area is proposed to extend from 94 Avenue northwest to the Walterdale Bridge. The project will consider design elements to connect the existing historic Rossdale Generating Station and pump houses, the new Walterdale Bridge and surrounding pathways, and create a series of spaces that can be used for public gatherings or individual enjoyment of the river and river valley.

As guided by the River Crossing Heritage Interpretive Plan, this project will link and reflect the rich Indigenous and settler history of the site with a dynamic urban future. 

The North Shore Area will extend along the northern bank of the North Saskatchewan River from the western edge of the Walterdale Bridge to Government House Park, west of Groat Road Bridge (alongside River Valley Road). Development of the North Shore Area will enhance the riverwalk experience.

Potential development could include gathering nodes, viewing decks, active transportation corridors, integrated seating and enhanced access points. It will also become a destination that will draw citizens and visitors to the river valley and support non-automotive transportation connections to the downtown core.

Project Fly-over Video

aerial map of north shore and rossdale area

see larger view

Project Timeline

Project Timeline - Strategy Phase

2021

Summer and Fall

  • Additional preliminary design for Rossdale Area only: further development of preferred concept
  • Continue to complete technical studies and approvals as required
  • Engagement Stage 3: Indigenous and public engagement opportunity to review the preferred concept and advise on adjustments for the Rossdale Area

Spring

  • Complete 1 preferred concept design for both project areas from engagement feedback received and technical study results
  • Completion of concept phase for both project areas

2020

Fall and Winter

  • Engagement Stage 2: Indigenous and online public engagement opportunities to review and refine the draft project vision, design principles, and 2 concept design options

Spring and Summer

  • Develop draft project vision and concept design options

2019

Fall

  • Indigenous engagement begins: it will be ongoing throughout the project with First Nations, Metis, Indigenous communities and Urban Indigenous peoples and organizations
  • Engagement Stage 1: project vision, design principles, and potential program/use preferences

Summer

  • Project start-up and beginning of initial project design research and studies

2018

Winter

  • City Council approved funding in 2019-2022 Capital Budget
  • Concept work for both project areas
  • Additional design for the Rossdale area only

2012-2017

  • Preliminary exploration of the project site, including initial public and Indigenous engagement; the project did not advance to a final concept design
  • Information and learnings have been incorporated into current project

Indigenous Community Engagement

The City is committed to engaging with Indigenous Nations and Peoples on projects that may be of traditional, cultural, historical and/or environmental interest. The City acknowledges that projects within the North Saskatchewan River Valley in particular are of significant interest to regional Indigenous Nations and Communities. It is important that Indigenous Peoples are part of conversations about the past, present and future of Edmonton’s river valley.

In fall 2019, 29 regional Indigenous Nations and Communities were invited to begin engagement on the project. Elders, Community members, Knowledge Keepers and Technicians from 24 Nations and Communities have participated over the 2 phases of engagement that have been completed so far.

Cultural protocol was offered at the engagement sessions and the input shared has been summarized in reports for Indigenous Nations and Communities to review. Ongoing advice, wisdom, and input from Indigneous Nations and Communities will continue to help guide the project as it moves forward. 

Additionally, Indigenous organizations and people living within Edmonton are welcome to participate through stakeholder and public engagement activities throughout the project.

This engagement process is part of the City’s commitment to strengthen relationships with Indigenous Nations and Communities with current, historical and cultural connections to the land where Edmonton is now located.

Public Engagement History

Stage 2: Draft Vision and Concept Options Review

Thank you to everyone who engaged with us virtually as we adjusted our engagement practices as a result of COVID-19 to share their feedback on the draft project vision, design principles and 2 draft concept design options. We appreciate your input to help us refine, adjust and improve the concept design options in order to develop one preferred concept design. 

The online survey and Engaged Edmonton tools (Quick Poll, Ideas and Ask A Question) closed on November 30, 2020. We appreciate everyone who took the time to provide their feedback online and through emails and phone calls received by the Project Manager. 

The feedback gathered will be used to develop 1 preferred concept design. The Touch the Water Promenade project is currently in the planning and design stages and is not funded for construction. The planning and engagement we do now will ensure that we have a blueprint for future development that reflects a shared vision for this very special area.

What We Heard Report

Public Engagement Video

Event Materials
Draft Vision and Concept Options Review
Frequently Asked Questions

Stage 1: Creating a Vision

Thank you for joining the conversation and sharing your vision for the Touch the Water Promenade Project in fall 2019. We received valuable input that will help inform the development of concept design options for the project.

We engaged with the public and stakeholders on:

  • The project location, local ecology, design inspiration and examples and how this project relates to other City plans and policies

  • We asked people what their favourite thing is about the project site, how they would like to use the 2 areas - Rossdale and North Shore - in the future and their overall vision for this project

What We Heard Report

Event Materials
Display Board
Project Information Booklet

A view of the existing conditions including amenities and buildings, water access, trails and more.

For More Information

Touch the Water Promenade Project Team

Email touchthewaterpromenadeproject@edmonton.ca

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