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River Valley Parks Master Plan

The City of Lethbridge is in the process of updating the Lethbridge River Valley Parks Master Plan. The plan will set out a long term vision that will describe the value of this community asset and will guide how the river valley is used, balancing the preservation of the eco-diversity and the desire for residents to enjoy the use of the river valley.
 

Background

In 2010 Parks initiated the Cow and Fish project which captured the health inventory of the Riparian Area of the River Valley. In 2012 the slope and plateau lands were analyzed and scored as well. With all of this base data now in place it is possible to create a comprehensive River Valley Master Plan that plans for current and future use, land ownership, policy guidance, biophysical inventory, recreation and heritage opportunities, connectivity, wildlife corridors, with the intent of creating guiding principles, functional concepts and park development plans.
 

What's in the Study

  • A comprehensive River Valley Assessment 
    • Current conditions (Biophysical, Recreational Programming, and Historical) 
    • Gap Analysis 
    • Public engagement 
  • Functional Concept Plans 
    • Develop a Vision, Principals and Strategies to guide future development 
  • Master Plan Document 
    • Implementation strategy 
    • Policies that will guide future land use bylaw changes

Public Engagement: Phase 1 – Vision and Needs Assessment

 

Phase 1 Results

From November 2014 to January 2015, Lethbridge residents, river valley users, and internal and external stakeholders were engaged to gather input about current uses of the river valley and to identify opportunities and constraints for future planning. Over 1,400 comments and ideas were provided though the various engagement activities. The following themes emerged during the first phase of engagement:

  • Circulation and accessibility
  • Connectivity
  • Natural environment
  • Maintenance
  • Amenities and facilities
  • Heritage
  • Safety
  • Enforcement
  • Governance

The summary of the input provided is available in the 'What We Heard – Phase 1 – Vision and Needs Assessment. A brief summary report is available here. The full report is available here.

How the Feedback Was Used

The public and stakeholder input was used to inform the development of the State of the Valley Report, which provides a situational assessment of the river valley. The input was also used to develop a vision, principles and objectives which will guide the development of the River Valley Parks Master Plan, while assisting the City of Lethbridge in its decision-making processes. Input was also used to develop a draft concept plan, guided by the vision, principles and objectives framework.

 

The State of the Valley Report

The State of the Valley report provides the foundation for the development of the River Valley Parks Master Plan. The report presents an overview and analysis of:

  • Existing plans and policies
  • Biophysical and landscape ecological conditions
  • Visibility
  • Existing cultural and recreational uses
  • Gap analysis of recreational services
  • A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Challenges (SWOC) analysis

The summary of report is available here.

Vision and Principles

The vision represents what the River Valley aspires to be. A series of overarching principles will guide decisions to help achieve the vision.

Vision

"The scenic Lethbridge River Valley is an iconic landscape providing a wide diversity of nature-based recreation in the heart of the city. Wise stewardship and careful management of this unique environment provides a balance of preservation and public use, ensuring the rich history and cherished natural character of the river valley is safely enjoyed for years to come."

Principles

  1. Conserve the Natural Landscape
  2. Enhance Wildlife Habitats and Landscape Connectivity
  3. Ensure Sustainable Use and Management
  4. Make the Valley Accessible
  5. Ensure Safety
  6. Connect Parks and Pathways
  7. Improve Valley Amenities
  8. Honour the Natural and Cultural Heritage
  9. Inspire Stewardship
 

Opportunities for Input

Through the planning project, we will be focused on hearing from river valley users, neighboring property owners, programming groups and residents to better understand how you interact with the river valley, what works well, and what needs to be improved. 
 

Using Your Input

We will incorporate your input in the analysis of the river valley, and use it to prepare a draft vision, a draft concept and policy for the Lethbridge River Valley Parks Master Plan. We will balance different perspectives, and consider the trade-offs as we develop the plan.

Input Opportunities Update

 

Public Engagement Phase 2 - Draft River Valley Concept

A draft River Valley Concept was developed based on public input, the findings of the State of the Valley report, and the new vision, principles and objectives. The project team wants to share these initial ideas to gather comments and confirm the overall direction for the draft river valley concept.

Concept ideas are grouped in five stations based on principles. Click on each of the stations to view the preliminary ideas and background information.

STATION 1: NATURAL ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY
Principle 1: Conserve the Natural Landscape
Principle 2: Enhance Wildlife Habitats and Landscape Connectivity
Principle 3: Ensure Sustainable Use and Management

STATION 2: ACCESSIBILITY AND SAFETY
Principle 4: Make the Valley Accessible
Principle 5: Ensure Safety

STATION 3: CONNECTIVITY AND PATHWAYS
Principle 6: Connect Parks and Pathways

STATION 4: AMENITIES, FACILITIES, AND CULTURAL HERITAGE
Principle 7: Improve Valley Amenities
Principle 8: Honour the Natural and Cultural Heritage

STATION 5: STEWARDSHIP
Station 5 (Principle 9: Inspire Stewardship) is intended to gather additional input on stewardship initiatives happening in the river valley, and on ways to increase the sense of stewardship and initiate action.

Timeline

 
​ ​Vision & Needs Assessment (Phase 1)
​Project Kick-Off
​November 13th, 2014
​Stakeholder Workshop​December 2nd, 2014
​Public Open House​December 2nd, 2014
 
 
Draft River Valley Concept (Phase 2)​ ​
​Stakeholder Workshops
​Summer 2015
​2nd Public Engagement
​November 24, 2015
 
Draft River Valley Master Plan (Phase 3)​ ​
​Initial Draft Review of the River Valley Parks Master Plan
​Winter/Spring 2016
 
 

Project Manager

Ryan Carriere
Parks Planning Manager
403 320 3019