Hawrelak Park will be temporarily closing for a 3-year rehabilitation of utilities, facilities, open spaces, paths and roads.
Project Update - January 2023
A full park closure will begin on March 13, 2023. River valley trails around the park perimeter will remain open during construction. Occasionally, short-term trail detours may be necessary.
A necessary part of site preparation requires removal of some trees, which will occur in early 2023. The project tree removal plan includes working with biologists to ensure bird and wildlife acts are followed. The City understands that mature trees and natural stands are important and this understanding has been an essential consideration for the project.
The City values every single tree, and removals are guided by the City’sand which prioritizes the preservation and protection of trees by ensuring equitable compensation for the canopy loss. In addition to other design disciplines, the project team includes Ecological Planners, Urban Forestry and Natural Area Operations, external Arborists and other environmental subject matter experts within and outside City of Edmonton Administration. These groups provide guidance and support to ensure adherence to the approved Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), legislative requirements, policies and bylaws. Beyond project planning and design, these teams are on site, before and during construction, to identify and take inventory of what trees require protection, removal and replacement. Replacement trees will be planted as part of the rehabilitation project with the final year of the project allowing for plantings to establish.
In addition to rehabilitation of infrastructure that has reached the end of its life, public engagement confirmed that safety and accessibility are top priorities for this project. One example of safety and accessibility is the addition of a Shared Use Path (SUP).
Overall, the project has undergone significant design considerations and iterations to minimize and mitigate tree removal. To achieve the desired outcome of a safe and accessible experience while minimizing significant disruption to the current park layout, removal of some trees is inevitable. At this time, 220 trees have been identified in both Natural Areas and Open Spaces to be removed. While it was clear early in the project that tree removal would occur, the exact number continues to be refined as we prepare for construction. Any additional tree removal will continue to be done in adherence with the City’s Corporate Tree Policy C456C and Public Tree Bylaw 18825.
Deep utility work will start when the park closes to the public. Full park closure is necessary for safety due to the extent of the rehabilitation work. The utility work requires large machinery and a significant amount of space for trenching and backfill activities. Construction activity will be ongoing throughout the entire park to address the vast network of underground utilities, facilities, roads and pathways.
We understand the inconvenience caused by the park closure and look forward to the reopening in winter 2025/26. Visit edmonton.ca/parks to find other parks and amenities available.