Edmonton's river valley

The City maintains the natural beauty and integrity of our river valley and ravine system as a valuable resource for all Edmontonians.

As part of protecting this natural asset the City requires separation between any development and the abutting valley or ravine. The Top of Bank Policy (Policy C542 - Development Setbacks from River Valley/Ravine Crests) provides more details.

Edmontonians who live near or beside the river valley and ravine system need to be aware of how they can preserve slope stability and protect their investment by limiting changes to property and the use of water near the valleys and ravines.

If you live near or beside the river valley and ravine system you are responsible for the following:

  1. Obtaining the required City permits and approvals prior to starting the following work:

    • Any construction or the removal of any structure

    • Commencing any landscaping activity that materially alters the existing grade and natural surface drainage pattern of your property

    • Installation of an urban garden or outdoor urban farm, or

    • Installation of swimming pools, skating rinks, ornamental ponds, hot tubs, cisterns, septic tanks, or other water and wastewater retention structures. You can plan your residential project online in order to find information about obtaining your permit(s).

  2. The following developments may be permitted as discretionary developments, subject to review of the necessary geotechnical reporting:

    • Water retention structures, such as swimming pools, skating rinks, ornamental ponds, hot tubs, and so on.

  3. Residents should avoid the following:
    • Excessive watering of lawns, trees, shrubs and other vegetation

    • Installation of granular or rock landscaping which could result in a focused infiltration of water

    • Alteration of the grade of the property or addition of fill material

    • Disturbance of any natural vegetation, and

    • Installation and use of geothermal devices (commonly understood as looping pipe systems that are installed below the ground and contain liquids)

  4. In the rear yard and side yards, hard surface (for example, concrete, asphalt) landscaping is limited to a total of 12 sq. m per yard. The remainder shall be landscaped with permeable landscaping materials.

  5. The following developments are prohibited:

    • Above or underground sprinkler or irrigation systems; and

    • Roof leaders, downspouts and sump pumps discharge spouts that discharge into or onto the ground

For some properties, similar restrictions may be registered as a caveat against the title for property abutting the valley and ravine system.

Please call 311 if you are concerned about activity happening in the vicinity of the valley and ravine system. Once the City is notified, staff can investigate whether proper permits are in place.