Thursday, December 11, 2008

Losing ground

But as I posted last year, practicality can get lost in Active Transportation hoopla. This is apparent in the City boosting funding for cycling routes, but cutting funding for riverbank stabilization.

Losing city land along the riverbanks is a loss of something of value to the City, either taxable private property or as public land for public use (ie- recreation, walking, cycling). Once that land is gone, it cannot come back without any great cost. And it is disappearing rapidly, not just for house-owners in St. Vital, but for the City's existing and future active transportation corridors.

These photos, scanned from the pages of "The North End" by John Paskivievich, show how much useful land has been lost, or in the process of being lost, on the Point Douglas riverbank in recent decades.

Here at the foot of Curtis Street, is where a portion of trail runs along the Red between Waterfront Drive and Annabella Street (on the east end of the old Hobo Jungle). The land that the railway track (a line between the CP and CN mainlines) stands on in this photo is now is partly sunken to near the water level, where spring water levels keep it unusable to cyclists for much of the year. The trail that is there now dips with the sinking riverbank, and could likely disappear to further erosion in the coming years.

At Norquay Park on the north side of the Point, this awkwardly-sitting man looks out over a portion of the park that has sunk down to river level to be flooded throughout spring, then stand as a muddy marsh the rest of the year.

Both these views are on the North Winnipeg Parkway, which will follow the Red River from The Forks to Kildonan Park. One of the final links of this parkway has been the land between the Redwood Bridge and St. John's Park. The completion of this portion, according to the City's website, riverbank stability:

"The Public Service will conduct a study to address riverbank stability issues along the Red River pathway and under the Redwood Bridge."

The city's riverbanks are the best places to put bike trails, and it would be tragic if this land was lost from under our feet. Perhaps the cycling lobbyists and their allies on council will recognize that more funding for riverbank stabilization benefits everyone, including cyclists.


I highly recommend buying John Paskievich's photography book "The North End." Or to view his film "Ted Baryluk's Grocery", the touching story of a grocery store proprietor and his neighborhood. The store was at the NW corner of Euclid and Austin Street. (Which incidentally is today the site of a dismal social housing complex over-run with gangs. But, hey, the intentions were good...)


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thoughts on the veto of the new apartments in North K and the River Heights by-election race?

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That NFB film on the North End is brilliant, very touching. I love the North End. No, I don't live there, but I live not far from there (a few blocks). I wonder if it will die. I hope not.

6:43 PM  
Anonymous 1ajs said...

aww yes the old waterfront drive shift... i remeber almost flying down into the abiss of that drop not know it had crashed in the pitch black of night coming back from the victoria day fireworks at the forks back when waterfront was pitch black and wild and perfect for star gazing

as for Norquay park.. allot of the stabilization issues go back to the flood of 97... and have been getting worse and worse for the last couple years would be nice if they would get around to fixing it were loosing out tabogin slop!!!!

3:53 AM  

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