Rambling Thoughts from a Wandering Mind


Building in the river valley: yes to washrooms, no to restaurants

David Staples, ever the supporter of getting more people into Edmonton’s river valley (a noble goal), wants more restaurants and washrooms in the valley.

Although I agree wholeheartedly about adding washrooms — many popular trail heads lack washroom facilities — I disagree about the restaurants. 

It would be nice to have some places to eat in the river valley, for sure. Adding a restaurant with a large patio to Louise McKinney Park, for example, would be awesome. But that’s a very developed, “groomed” park space where adding infrastructure would make sense.

Making sure that you’re never more than 1-2 kilometres from a restaurant, anywhere in the river valley? That’s extreme and risks destroying the sense of being completely immersed in nature and the ease with which you can forget you’re in the middle of a major city while hiking in the valley.

If you’re planning a walk, hike or bike ride in the river valley, bring a snack. Pack a picnic. You don’t need easy access to restaurants. Water bottle filling stations at trail heads would be nice, but that’s really all that’s needed.

Of course, it would be kinda nice to have a cold pint after a long hike…beer gardens at all major trail heads? 😉

2 thoughts on “Building in the river valley: yes to washrooms, no to restaurants

  1. The river valley isn’t even 1-2km wide, typically, so one could get really close to achieving Staples’ restaurant radius without having to put restaurants in the river valley at all.

    Like for some context, a 2km radius from the Sugar bowl includes Emily Murphy park, Victoria Golf Course, the entire legislature grounds, Nellie McClung park and most of Rossdale. Essentially all of the river valley in the core of the city is within 2km of a restaurant already.

    1. I suspected that was already the case, but hadn’t check to confirm. It seems clear that Staples is talking about development in the river valley — that’s his latest pet project, now that he seems to have stopped constantly complaining about photo radar — but I’m not at all surprised to read that we essentially already meet the criteria he’s using. He wants to be able to get food without leaving the river valley, I suspect.

      Looking at some of the specifics he mentions, development in the Walterdale region probably makes sense. It’s already heavily developed and not really “parkland.” Rossdale Flats are much more complicated, due to First Nations history in the area (it’s a burial site). Food trucks in the river valley might make sense in some areas, but would also mean more vehicle traffic and noise from generators, which is maybe OK in major parks like Hawrelak or Rundle, but not along the paved “roads” (which are really walking trails made wide enough to get maintenance trucks in when needed) in smaller parks like Nellie McClung.

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