WGPPS News Release Re: Ministerial order regarding Environmental Appeal

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News Release

 

Feb. 2, 2018

 

Weaselhead / Glenmore Park Preservation Society (WGPPS)

 

Re: Ministerial order regarding Environmental Appeal No.17-047 and 17-050 issued January 29, 2018, Minister of Alberta Environment and Parks.

 

The Board of the Weaselhead / Glenmore Park Preservation Society (WGPPS) commends the Provincial Government and Minister Shannon Phillips for their decision to protect the wetlands in and adjacent to the Weaselhead Natural Park. We applaud the precedent-setting decision that its Ministerial Order sets for future Alberta developments.

 

The Ministerial Order recognizes the value of wetlands and specifically notes the significance of wetlands in urban environments for public enjoyment, as an educational tool, and for flood mitigation. It also states that wetlands disturbance avoidance is paramount and, if disturbance cannot be avoided, mitigation is required. The so-called relocation of wetlands should be considered only as a last resort option.

 

We are very grateful for the recognition implied in the Minister’s Order of the WGPPS’s stewardship and leadership regarding the wetlands in the Weaselhead and the adjoining watershed.

 

The WGPPS also appreciates the many hours of work and dedication undertaken by Jeff Brookman and Allie Tulick of YYC Cares, who launched and spearheaded the appeal. We also are grateful for the time, effort and integrity shown by the Environmental Appeals Board and Alberta Environment. Lastly, as the president of the WGPPS and on behalf of our Board of Directors and hundreds of members, I would like to thank our Executive Director Sarah Nevill, who acted on behalf of the WGPPS as an intervener.

 

The WGPPS looks forward to working in cooperation with the Province and its agents in monitoring the health of Beaver Pond, which is located in the southwest corner of Weaselhead Park, the wetland that figures so prominently in the Ministerial Order.

 

The Weaselhead / Glenmore Park Preservation Society is dedicated to protecting the fauna and flora of the Weaselhead and Glenmore Parks and to preserve the integrity of the Elbow River for future generations.

 

Yves Dansereau, President

Weaselhead AGM 2017

Fall Weaselhead

Please Join Us!
When: November 2, 2017
Where: Lakeview Community Association 6100 34 St. SW
Doors & Refreshments: 7:00pm
Meeting: 7:30pm

In addition to the Agenda below you can expect:

Poetry performance by Naturalist Audrey Lane Cockett

Findings of initial results of our SW Ring Road Impact Study of the Beaver Pond presented by Naturalist Cassiano.

Agenda

  1. 7:30 pm Call to Order (doors open at 7.00pm)
  1. Appointment of Recording Secretary
    • Appointment of Patricia Prevey to record Meeting Minutes
  1. Approval of 2016 AGM Minutes
  1. Approval of 2017 AGM Agenda
  1. President’s Report (Paul Finkleman)
  1. Executive Director’s Report (Sarah Nevill)
  1. Treasurers Report (Heather Sheppard)
    • Presentation of the audited accounts for 2016/2017
  1. Nominations for Board of Directors*
    • Nominations from the floor
    • Approval of new Board of Directors.
  1. Additional Business Presented
    • Closing Remarks
  1. Meeting adjournment

*Current Directors: Paul Finkleman, President; Heather Sheppard, Treasurer; Pat Prevey, Secretary; Gary Haerle, Education Director;  Rosemarie Foley, Nominations Director; Lindal Heppner; Susan Ryan; Yves Dansereau, Jeromy Farkas

Weaselhead Soundscapes at Beakerhead

Weaselhead/Glenmore Park Preservation Society’s Soundscapes Project

at Beakerhead Festival

Join us in a wild night celebrating and showcasing local landscapes, local talent, and park naturalists.

WHERE: Blank Page Studio
WHEN: 6:00-8:30:pm show
stay and mingle after

Five talented artists have gathered at the intersection of art, park, and city in order to witness changes and capture the biodiverse and dynamic soundscape of the Elbow River Wetlands located in Weaselhead Park.

Come share in this experience through the fusion of spoken word, dance, and music. All accompanied by wild sounds and visuals.

The show will be followed by talk back with artists, park naturalists, and audience, surrounding creative ways to engage with urban wild.

Featuring:
Audrey Lane Cockett
Cobra Collins
Erin Dingle
Sabrina Naz
Jesse Shire

Donation at the door. Recommended $10.00. 

Space is limited so Please RSVP with the number of people attending to:

Rebeccah Schwab

education@theweaselhead.com

*Please be there no later than 6:00pm to ensure your spot. After that unused spots will be given away.

 
We look forward to seeing you there!

Volunteer Appreciation Picnic

You and your family are warmly invited!

Weaselhead/Glenmore Park Preservation Society’s 22nd ANNUAL VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION PICNIC and FEAST on Labour Day

WHEN: Monday, September 4th, 10:30am-2:00pm 

WHERE: Snowy Owl Picnic Site, North Glenmore Park (200 metres east of the 37th Street and 66th Avenue S.W. park entrance).

GUIDED NATURE WALK: 11:00am

LUNCH: Shortly after noon

Yes, it’s all free!

This is our opportunity to thank anyone and everyone who has been a member or helped out with our organization in any way, no matter how big or small, over the past few years by offering up a veritable feast of Peking and Szechuan delicacies along with a variety of refreshing drinks.  Plates and cutlery will provided, but we encourage you to bring your own plates and utensils for all the right reasons.

Please RSVP with the number of people attending to Paul Finkleman:
president@theweaselhead.com

We look forward to seeing you there!

Paul Finkleman, WGPPS President
Sarah Nevill, Executive Director

 

May Flower Count 2017

May Flower Count

May Flower Count

This initiative is aligned with Nature Alberta’s May species count that they have been doing annually since 1976. Their count, which usually occurs towards the end of May/early June includes counts of flowering plants, birds, and sometimes mammals.
The purpose behind the May Flower Count is to help track climate driven changes in the number of flowering plants in areas across Alberta.
This year, we held our first one in Weaselhead Park and recorded 39 Flowering Species! 
You can see the full list of species observed here: mayflowercount2017
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SW Ring Road: Weaselhead Position Statement

The Weaselhead /Glenmore Park Preservation Society (WGPPS )

WGPPS Position Statement Regarding

Calgary Southwest Ring Road Construction (SWCRR)

The Province of Alberta awarded the contract to the construction consortium KGL, and construction has started in many places along the Calgary Southwest Ring Road route.  Several areas will directly affect the Weaselhead Natural Environment Park.  The 1.3 kilometre-long diversion of the Elbow River began in April 2017.

Is the Weaselhead Society “supportive” of the presence of the Ring Road project along the Weaselhead Natural Park?  The answer is No.

Where are we now?  

The mandate of the WGPPS has always been to preserve the integrity and bio-diversity of the natural environment park area and to raise awareness of the environmental and social significance of the Weaselhead.

  • WGPPS preferred option for the Weaselhead would have been no road.
  • The second option would have been a crossing design that minimized environmental impact, rather than the cut-and-fill causeway with a re-aligned, entrenched river and limited wildlife corridor.
  • Strong support for the Provincial Ring Road project in the City of Calgary arose as a perceived way of alleviating traffic heading into the downtown core. The provincial mandate is to construct a ring road to bypass Calgary, not a commuter route within the City. The WGPPS views the Ring Road as an “avoidance” artery that will have a limited impact on travel times to the core of Calgary, especially once development in the far SW communities increases traffic to the ring road’s capacity. The Province – Tsuut’ina Nation Agreement has a deadline of November 2021 (seven years after the 2014 land transfer agreement).
  • If the Project is not built to certain specifications contained in the Agreement, all lands will be returned to the Tsuut’ina Nation. The understanding is that the Tsuut’ina Nation regards the Ring Road as a desirable project to spur economic development on the east side of their lands.

WGPPS Goals Achieved:

  • Constant pressure resulted in changing the route from the 37th Street SW to the present routing; outside but very close to the Park.
  • The Elbow River bridge (gap in the berm) is now twice as long as originally planned.  The River Crossing is now safe for the Glenmore Dam (in an extreme flood scenario), and will permit passage of some wildlife.
  • Re-vegetation of the Ring Road Corridor and Elbow River Re-alignment: We persuaded the Project Coordinators to use more suitable seed mixes. Also, we convinced the Province to provide shrubs and trees in the corridor to improve connectivity for birds.
  • The beaver pond near the embankment: Our input resulted in the Right of Way embankment to be moved 30 meters west, and now avoids the beaver pond.
  • Installation of Less damaging downward pointing lighting (Royal Astronomical Society and WGPPS). 
  • WGPPS has been supportive of the relocation of the 37th street storm water outfall, a successful endeavour initiated by residents of Lakeview Community.
  • At the Ring Road’s Fish Creek crossing: the length of the bridge has now been doubled and matches the wildlife passage of the City’s pre-existing bridge. The public work WGPPS and Calgary River Valleys (CRV) presented to the decision makers (City of Calgary) had a major impact.

WGPPS Goals not Achieved:

  • WGPPS failed to stop the Ring Road from being a concern to the Park with respect to highway noise and light pollution.
  • WGPPS preferred a multi-span bridge instead of a berm.
  • As a result of the river re-alignment, the ecology of the Elbow River Valley will change from a meandering river environment to more directly controlled flow, and the direct river course will have an adverse effect on the Elbow River riparian vegetation wetland.
  • The integrity of preserving the Park space was broken when the Province annexed 5 acres of the Weaselhead Park with compensation to the City of Calgary.  WGPPS had considered the integrity of the Park ‘safe’ with its designation as a ‘protected natural area’.

WGPPS Action Items

Pursue mitigation initiatives:

  • Installation and monitoring of state-of-the art storm water management.
  • Dust, salinity, and particulate control.
  • Wildlife and aquatic management measures.
  • Appropriate re-vegetation of the berm and construction areas.
  • Essential sound abatement constructs.
  • Arising impacts.

We watch like hawks….We make sure everything is done in an environmentally safe manner, and report any and all infractions.

We continue to communicate our concerns to the Province and civic officials.
Regards,
Board of Directors,
Weaselhead/Glenmore Park Preservation Society

May 7, 2017

Glossary  
WGPPS –   Weaselhead Glenmore Park Preservation Society (Weaselhead Society)
SWCRR – Southwest Calgary Ring Road – referred to as the Ring Road
CRV – Calgary River Valleys organization
KGL –  SWCRR construction consortium

Pathways and River Cleanup May 7, 2017

VOLUNTEERS PARK CLEAN-UP

Volunteers Needed!

***Pathways Clean-up POSTPONED***

Unfortunately, due to rain in the forecast for tomorrow, we will be rescheduling our Pathways Clean-up. It’s just no fun – and difficult – picking up litter when everything is SOGGY. It’s also not good for many of the sensitive areas in the Weaselhead when people tromp along paths and riverbanks in the mud.

Fear not, we will reschedule, and update you all when we have chosen new date.

Thank You for your understanding.

Spring’s almost here, and summer’s ahead.
It’s time to clean the Weaselhead! 
WHEN: Sunday, May 7th, 10am WHERE: ‘The Weasel-shed” in the NW corner of the Weaselhead parking lot,66th avenue and 37th street SW.WHAT: Approximately 90 minute walk through the park picking up litter.

***’litter-grabbers’, bags, and a variety of healthy refreshments will be provided.
Appropriate footwear and a hat is recommended.This program is in conjunction with the City of Calgary’s River and Pathway Clean-up as well as the Canadian Shoreline Clean-up.If you’d like to participate, please email:
president@theweaselhead.com
 and let me know how many others you may be bringing along with you.

Thanking you on behalf of the Weaselhead/Glenmore Park Preservation Society,

Paul Finkleman, WGPPS President and Clean-Up Co-ordinator

Fullmoon Snowshoe/Hike – Feb. 11, 2017

Come join us this Valentine’s Day weekend, and show us how much you love your yyc parks!

We will take you on a guided snowshoe/hike through North Glenmore park/the reservoir. We will also have telescopes set up to check out the night sky. We will most likely end with a warm fire and refreshments.

When: Saturday, February 11, 6:45pm (as the moon is set to rise)

Where: Parking lot “E” by Blue Heron

Members: FREE
Non-Members: $5 suggested donation

***Snowshoes will not be provided. If you do not have any you can always rent from the following places: MEC, UofC or Sports Rent

2017 Ring Road Update

As we make our way into 2017 we wanted to take a moment to update you on the Ring Road development and construction.

This January construction is underway to relocate the Enmax transmission line south of the Glenmore and Sarcee Trail intersection to continue south across the river valley to the new substation north of 90thAve. For more details and map on the project visit the link https://www.enmax.com/generation-wires/transmission-and-distribution/current-projects/swcrr-proposed-138-kv-transmission-relocation

Construction for the South West Calgary Ring Road (SWCRR) is being carried out by Kiewit, Graham, Ledcor (KGL), a construction consortium made up of North American companies to build and manage the SWCRR. As construction is looming, we continue to work with developers for increased environmental mitigation. A noise wall would be an ideal solution to protecting biodiversity and park user enjoyment, while also reducing salt spray and preventing other contaminants from entering the sensitive wetlands and Elbow River which provide south Calgary with its drinking water source.

We ask our members and the public to please contact your MLA and Transportation Minister Brian Mason to make several requests

  • Investment into a state of the art sound wall for the Elbow River Valley and Fish Creek portions of the SWCRR.
  • Follow Alberta Transportation (AT) own Best Practice Guidelines including Planning Considerations for Wildlife Passage in Urban Environments.
  • KGL and AT to work with the City of Calgary and The Weaselhead/Glenmore Park Preservation Society (WGPPS) in regards to mitigating mammal and wildlife passage. Further consideration for wildlife underpasses and overpasses crossing structures.
  • KGL and AT to work with the City of Calgary and WGPPS to ensure vegetation plantings and sourcing is appropriate.
  • AT to further invest in improving all environmental mitigation efforts for this project.

You can find an address list for members of your local and federal government here: http://theweaselhead.com/wp-wh/assets/SendLettersToUPDATED.pdf

This coming spring species listed as sensitive like the Sora whose song sounds like laughter coming from the reeds of the Beaver Pond will be returning to a home they may have to avoid. The Olive-sided Flycatcher, listed as threatened, will be returning to a fragmented landscape altered and noisy. We can do better. We need to continue working with AT to encourage them to do better – your communications with them are still needed.

Sincerely,

Lisa Dahlseide B.Sc.

Please note:
Hours of Work: KGL Constructors expects to carry out construction in the TUC on Monday to Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Sunday and statutory holidays from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Stay safe and stay out of the TUC.