Council evaluates safety of water route
Published Tuesday, July 17, 2012 5:08PM MDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 17, 2012 6:38PM MDT
The city is going ahead with plans to update the signage at Harvie Passage after a rafter was killed on the July long weekend.
The issue came up at city council this week and originally the city asked the province for assistance to make the dangers more clear to boaters.
The province declined to foot the bill for the full project but says it is working with a number of partners to help the city get the word out.
The city says the new signs will describe exactly what Class II and Class III rapids mean.
City representatives shared some prototype signs in a meeting on Friday.
Ward 9 Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra expressed his frustration with the signage and the fact that the city is footing the bill for related costs.
“The province has spent many, many millions on that facility and yet it falls to us to do the enforcement and the policing and all of that and that means talking to the feds, talking to the province and getting out and doing the educating as well,” said Ward 9 Councillor, Gian-Carlo Carra.
Members of Paddle Alberta have been handing out brochures that better explain the risks of the manmade rapids and many paddlers say they are concerned that not enough people understand the dangers that still exist in the revamped rapids.
“Even with that knowledge if you don't have experience in Class II or Class III rapids on other rivers to compare it to you have no clue what that is. Most people are just used to Class I flow of the Bow above here,” said Karla Handy from Paddle Alberta.
The Harvie Passage runs through and below the old weir, which is just downstream from the zoo.
The new passage was named in honour of Calgary philanthropist Don Harvie and was actually created to reduce the number of boating injuries and fatalities.
The passage is separated into two channels; a gentler south channel and a more challenging north channel.
The south channel is intended for experienced recreation users and the north is a Class III rated kayaking channel and is more for canoeists and kayakers who want to practice their skills.
Inexperienced boaters are still encouraged to use the portage around the passage for their own safety.
For more information, visit the Harvie Passage website.