Prince Albert’s devastated Little Red River Park will remain closed indefinitely while city crews assess damage caused by this year’s high river flows.
Initially caused by the government’s decision to open the Spruce River Dam, high water flows have continued due to Highway 2 floodwater’s diversion into the river.
“Under normal conditions you’d be able to see rocks in the water and it would be clear,” city manager Robert Cotterill said. “Right now, it’s still dirty water.”
The silver lining is that, although still higher than usual, it’s now low enough to enable city crews to assess damage, “and put a plan into place to do the repairs,” Cotterill explained.
The current plan is to have a plan in place for administration to bring forward for city council consideration at their Sept. 9 meeting, Cotterill said.
By next week, Cotterill also hopes to see repair work begin on the Highway 55 bridge, located at the entranceway to Little Red River Park. Although administration hasn’t had a chance to have council approve this expense, Cotterill notes that there is some leeway when it comes to issues of public safety.
“We have to make our facilities safe, and so that’s what we’re working on right now -- what’s the easiest way to get it done, and any of the larger dollars we’ll be talking to council about,” he explained.
We have to make our facilities safe, and so that’s what we’re working on right now -- what’s the easiest way to get it done, and any of the larger dollars we’ll be talking to council about. Robert Cotterill, city manager
During the peak of this summer’s high water event on Little Red River, large debris crashed through the bridge, wiping out all of its crossbeams.
Little Red River Park has been closed to the public since mid-June, during which time a number of people have been noted to hop over closure signs to see the park firsthand.
Don’t, Cotterill cautions, noting that erosion has been severe, making roads and pathways unstable.
For those interested in seeing the park, the city has posted a number of photos on their website, online at www.citypa.com.
“There’s a large number of residents who use the park on an ongoing basis,” Cotterill said.
“There’s a lot of frustration, I think, in the community that we aren’t able to open it, but I think once you see the pictures you get a sense of, well, it’s not a normal situation.”