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Thursday, Jul 19, 2018

City of St. Albert’s Riel Recreation Park redevelopment transforms a local jewel into a regional recreation hub

St.Albert Riel Park

Riel Park in the City of St. Albert, north of Edmonton, is a multi-purpose regional recreation facility. Its large Rodeo Grounds hosts the Annual Rainmaker Rodeo, along with midway rides, dog shows, parade and concert performances. New fields are home to the St. Albert Rugby Football Association and St. Albert Soccer Association. Riel Park also features a modern BMX Track and full service RV Park.

The development of Riel Park is a shining example of municipal reclamation and revitalization. In the 1950s, the area occupied by Riel Park was a landfill for dry wastes. In the 1960s and 1970s, several lagoons were built to provide wastewater treatment. From the mid-1970s to mid-1980s, the area was used again as a landfill for dry waste. Finally, in the 1980’s, the landfill was decommissioned. The city decided to redevelop the site as a park in the 1980s and 1990s.

In response to public concerns regarding the recreational use of a former landfill site, environmental monitoring of the site commenced in the 1990s. As part of the investigation process, the city developed a Landfill Environmental Management Plan. One of the recommendations in the Plan was to provide an appropriate (clay) cap over the entire landfill area to eliminate surface water from migrating into the landfill and reduce the potential for any leachate to be generated by the site. 

The city realized that placing a clay cap over the entire park surface would have severe impacts on all park amenities. To minimize impacts on the community groups and to address the potential park redevelopment opportunities, the city produced the “The Riel Recreation Park Master Redevelopment Plan”. This document provided the vision for the park, defining the programming and uses.

Staged construction balanced cash-flow and provided amenities at the end of each stage

Associated has provided planning and engineering services for the Riel Park Redevelopment for the past ten years. Project Manager, Owen Mierke, tells us, “We worked with the city to develop a staged construction approach, which helped the city to manage budget and cash-flow for this large recreational development project, while providing the community with recreational amenities at the end of each stage.”

In addition to the rodeo grounds, sports fields, BMX Track, and RV Park, the 30 hectare park features a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose artificial turf field, grandstands, picnic and BBQ areas, walking trails, connection to the Lois Hole Provincial Park, and a restored wetland.