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Council to look at motion pushing for improved river access
Published Monday, June 13, 2016 7:11AM MDT
Last Updated Monday, June 13, 2016 9:22AM MDT
It’s one of the most popular pastimes in Calgary over the summer and a pair of councillors is looking to make it more accessible for residents throughout the city.
Thousands of people take to the waters of the Bow and Elbow Rivers every season for a relaxing float through the city, but many say that it is tricky to get into the water, especially after the 2013 floods.
A motion brought by two city councillors, Shane Keating and Gian-carlo Carra, proposes to change the situation and build more boat launches.
The City of Calgary used to have eight boat launches for public use but, after the 2013 floods, six were destroyed.
Only the launches in Fish Creek Park in the south and Bowness in the northwest remain.
Officials say it is a 13 hour trip for boaters to reach the next, legal, safe and environmentally friendly access point.
Keating says the access points are vital for the city. “We do have a fabulous river for fly fishing, for tubing, for floating down the river. Tourists come from worldwide to visit and fish on our rivers and if you don’t have access, we’re defeating the purpose of having this great amenity.”
Without the proper boat launches, Keating adds that residents are also hurting the environment. "What we have there is a whole lot of new sandbars that weren't there before. So they used to have a boat launch and a parking lot and that's sort of still there, but people are now driving onto the sandbar, which is damaging the rivers as well."
If passed, the motion calls for the city to begin discussions with other levels of government to make changes.