Big Island Provincial Park Question and Answer

Please use this space to ask a question about the proposed establishment of Big Island Provincial Park. Your question will be shared with a team of project experts from the three government partners (Government of Alberta, Enoch Cree Nation, and City of Edmonton), who will aim to respond within 5 business days. 

Please be advised that your question, and the response, will be viewable publicly. Moderators will remove any submission that contains inappropriate content in accordance with the Government of Alberta's social media commenting rules. If you wish to ask a question and/or receive an answer privately, please get in touch with us at aep.outreach-services@gov.ab.ca.

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    I think you are confused between cycling like the RVA views it, and mountain biking. These are two distinct types of trail networks. Edmonton has developed an extensive network of single track trails in the river valley over the past few years and is now responsible for maintaining these trails as sanctioned by the City of Edmonton. It is connectivity to this mountain bike trail network I am referring to, not the RVA paved and gravelled trail network. My question is how will the 'mountain bike trail network' that has been established by EMBA be connected into the provincial park? I am hoping that the amazing network of single track trails can be extended into Big Island and keep Edmonton on the forefront of this amazing access to the river valley.

    EdmontonBike asked 16 days ago

     Thank you for your question. There are several plans that propose potential trail connections for different types of trails to Big Island from surrounding communities and the river valley trail network. While the City of Edmonton’s Ribbon of Green SW+NE Plan provides direction on trails around the area, the City has not formalized or sanctioned single track trails for the areas surrounding Big Island. A detailed trail strategy is needed to allow for further site-specific assessment of trails, so that we can move towards a trail system that meets recreational demand without compromising ecological function. An ecological assessment and traditional land use study are currently being completed to assess the area’s sensitivity and will help to inform next steps on trail alignment. 

     

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    Based on a response to a question I asked during the engagement session, I understand that there are no economic development/tourism related programming or activities planned for Big Island at this time, but that decisions about this will be made at some point in the future, after establishment of the Park in consultation with the City of Edmonton and Enoch. Can you provide some examples of the types of economic development and tourism activities that would be considered for the Park when it is time to make these decisions?

    DarrylGH asked 25 days ago

    Thank you for your question. If Big Island is established as a provincial park, site-specific planning by the three governments would occur to determine what kinds of nature-based tourism and economic development activities and programming are appropriate for the site based on engagement feedback, technical studies identifying ecological and cultural values and sensitivities, and alignment with the proposed vision and planning principles. While no specific opportunities have yet been considered for Big Island, some examples of nature-based economic development and tourism opportunities include guided tours associated with the ecological and historic values, outdoor skill development such as paddling, and Indigenous cultural programming.

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    Thank you for posting the video of the June 28 engagement session. A friend of mine participated in the June 27 session and has told me the questions were quite different. Can you please post the June 27 7 PM engagement session as well. It will help provide more information about what Big Island Park will be.

    dxuu asked 27 days ago

    Hello, our standard practice is to only post one webinar as the information presented is identical. However, the transcript has been reviewed and the unique questions that were not answered in the second webinar including responses are available through the following link.

    Big Island Information Webinar June 27 Q&A


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    I was wondering how Big Island is going to be connected to the mountain bike trail network in the river valley?

    EdmontonBike asked 21 days ago

    Thank you for your question. A similar question about trail connectivity was addressed during the June 27th Informational Webinar. We have provided information on questions asked and responses given in the following document. Big Island Information Webinar June 27 Q&A

    Here is the response given in that document: The City of Edmonton’s Ribbon of Green Strategy and the River Valley Alliance’s Plan of Action both identify future trail networks with connections to Big Island. A top of bank trail is also identified in the Riverview Area Structure Plan and Neighbourhood Structure Plan to connect the surrounding community to Big Island. The three government partners are working with City of Edmonton planners and the developers of the Riverview community to ensure Big Island will be connected to regional trails and the surrounding community. Detailed site planning, which will be informed by the ecological assessment and traditional-land use study, will identify sensitive areas as well as areas to showcase, and help inform the extent and location of a sustainable trail system.

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    Based on the provided response to the question about 24/7 staffing and monitoring of Big Island, do I understand correctly that there is no commitment on the part of the Province or other participants to ensure the park is monitored 24 hours a day? If that is the case, what is the proposed plan for ensuring the park is not used for illegal activities, including the possibility of open fires. Currently there is evidence of open fires on Big Island that you probably saw on your visit there. Without continual monitoring of activity and security it is doubtful that this illegal activity will stop. This is a serious concern for the residents who live along the river valley, which creates a potentially significant liability for the province and other partners, as well as all who are concerned about the ecological integrity of Edmonton's river valley.

    ConcernedCitizen1 asked 21 days ago

    Thank you for your feedback and sharing your concerns as an adjacent resident. There are no parks in the Alberta Parks system that are monitored with 24-hour on-site security. However, enforcement officers patrol parks regularly and are able to respond to emerging issues, and in coordination with local police. Of note, the Crown land at Big Island is currently public land managed under the Public Lands Act, and uses such as random camping and open fires are currently permitted. Establishment of this area as a provincial park would enable officers to enforce park regulations, and provide a broader suite of tools to manage use. We are proposing through engagement that overnight camping would not be permitted, and day-use would be limited to the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Fires would only be permitted in designated receptacles at picnic sites.

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    Will there be 24/7 staffing/security in the Park. If not how will you control potential access by overnight campers who may start an open fire. As a land owner up river along the river valley I am concerned that without 24/7 staffing and security at the park it will attract illegal use, camping and ultimately uncontrolled fires.

    LynnJ asked 29 days ago

    Within the Alberta Parks system, regulation, enforcement and compliance activities are essential to ensure that visitor rules are implemented and unsustainable site uses are mitigated or stopped. Regulations are enforced by conservation officers (peace officers in the Province of Alberta), and they work closely with local police authorities to ensure the safety of park visitors and the surrounding area. The enforcement and patrol frequency for Big Island has not yet been determined, but will be discussed with our project partners the City of Edmonton and Enoch Cree Nation if the park is established. However, we encourage you to submit feedback about the potential impacts of the proposed provincial park on you and your property through the engagement survey, as this will help us to understand concerns and prioritize operational needs.

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    I see someone asked about access and was seeking some specific regarding access options. The question was not answered. I would also be interested in the specific access options that are being considered. I understand you are negotiating and discussing these with land owners, but currently this is no effective access and your deferring this question isn't really acceptable. Please identify and provide a map of the options you are currently considering? Thank you Daniel L

    DanielL asked 27 days ago

    Alberta Environment and Parks is in discussion with adjacent landowners about the potential purchase of property to facilitate access by land. Negotiations are ongoing, and we are not able to share information or maps with the public about specific access options on private property. If this land is purchased and becomes Crown-owned, we will be able to share more information with the public about planned access points.  

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    Thank you for your response to my follow up question on operations funding. I believe I have heard that you are going to establish a provincial park, you have not determined what the operational budget for the park will be and that you have not determined who, if anyone, will fund the operations of the park? If I am correct, I am curious if this is the process for establishing all provincial parks, where there is no plan or concern for its cost or how it will be paid for in advance of establishing it? This doesn't appear to be prudent program planning. My question is this: When will an operational budget be determined for the park and when will funding be committed by the province or its partners, the City of Edmonton and Enoch? Thanks.

    LynnJ asked 27 days ago

    The Government of Alberta is committed to funding the ongoing operation of Big Island as part of the Alberta Parks system. Engagement on the proposal to establish this park is occurring now, and feedback received from public, stakeholders and Indigenous communities will help to shape the final establishment proposal. This includes gathering feedback on potential amenities, facilities and/or services in the proposed park. The extent of amenities, facilities or services approved for the park will in turn impact the operational budget, as well as other management needs that may be identified through the traditional land use study and ecological assessment which are underway now. For example, the ecological assessment will determine the extent and severity of invasive weeds and recommended areas for restoration, which will impact operational funding needs. The establishment proposal for Big  Island will be refined following engagement and based on study results, and ultimately will be provided to Alberta’s Government for decision, along with estimated capital and operational costs. This decision is anticipated for Fall 2022.

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    Thank you for your response to the question on operations funding. What amount has the Province put aside for funding park operations on an annual basis. Additionally, to confirm, neither Enoch nor Edmonton have made an operational funding commitment to the provincial park at this time, what is the Province's expectation regarding the share of operational funding that would come from each of these partners?

    LynnJ asked 28 days ago

    A specific operating budget for Big Island has not yet been determined. The three governments are guided by a Terms of Reference that they co-developed to work collaboratively toward the establishment of Big Island Provincial Park. If the park is established, the Terms of Reference would be updated to guide how the three governments would undertake long-term management and operation, and this includes funding detail.

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    I understand that Big Island is not currently accessible by land and that you are looking at securing land access by purchasing land. What are the access options you are looking at?

    Seama asked about 1 month ago

    Alberta Environment and Parks is in discussion with a number of landowners with property surrounding Big Island; and information about specific access points can be shared if AEP purchases this land. If this land is secured, access planning would accommodate walk in, wheelchair, and river access, and work towards formalizing vehicle access points off 199 Street, with parking located outside of the floodway.