Nature path will eventually connect entire city
Calgary’s rapid expansion can leave residents unconnected — not to mention the impact on our environment. A development project hopes to help Calgarians support our sense of community.
The Calgary Greenway is a nature path that will be built around the perimeter of Calgary. The first phase is almost done and extends from Airport Trail down to 17th Avenue, paralleling the new Stoney Trail corridor.
“It is a very exciting initiative that will create a linear natural corridor around the outskirts of Calgary, about 100 kilometers in length,” said Myrna Dubé, CEO for Parks Foundation Calgary.
A mom and her baby taking a quick stroll along Phase 1 - East Calgary Greenway.
Photo courtesy of C. Gulinao
“To our knowledge we do not know of another city that has this, certainly not at this magnitude, so it is another big first for Calgary.
“It will be a natural corridor but will be a very wide pathway about 3.5 meters all the way down with rest-stops, play and picnic parks, off-leash dogs parks and (in) wet land areas there will be wetland interpretive centers. We are planning a major outdoor fitness park in the southeast area.
“It will surround Calgary and it will link all of the other pathways so you can go into one community and back through the other community,” Dubé said.
Dubé said she thinks that it will help reduce our carbon footprint and use lands that would otherwise be dormant. She hopes “people (go) outside and to learn to respect the environment.”
“Ecologically it is a very smart project because it is using land that would be ‘nuisance’ land that would be plowed once a year when people complain. Now it’s open for public use.”
Neal Borstmayer, a Calgary resident, agrees that the path will be a benefit to the environment but more so for the bike path: “I bike to work every day and I just love it. It saves me a lot of money and severely reduces my impact on the environment.
“This is a positive step forward for Calgary,” he said.
Rosalyn Astell, also a resident of Calgary, said, “Reducing my carbon footprint is important to me. I believe that the Greenway is a positive way for Calgary to be more active and support our wildlife, animals and plants, by providing more green space for it to grow.”
Dubé said that production of the Greenway is fully dependent on fundraising. “We are raising funds for the other eastern part of the city and looking to connect to Fish Creek Park, so it will go right through and that will all be part of the Calgary Greenway.
“As we raise funds we build it in segments and that’s the way we have to do it. We received funds from all three levels of government in the city, the federal government, the province and private donors. We plan the phases as we get the funds (so) we are not sure when it will be finished.”
Although they are just beginning the Greenway, Dubé is pleased with the public’s response: “The response has been wonderful. It is a way of drawing people out for further recreational things, becoming aware of our environment.”
Astell said, “In Calgary, we do not have a lot of things keeping our community together. I believe that people will use the Greenway and educate each other on the environment.”