“If you’ve gone part way down the incorrect path, that’s regrettable—but not as regrettable as going all the way down the incorrect path.”
So spoke Mayor Ivor Dent in April of 1972. City council had just voted to put the brakes on an invasive transportation plan which would’ve plowed a freeway through the MacKinnon Ravine, destroying an irreplaceable natural landscape in the Edmonton river valley. The project had been in the works for eight years, but a group of dedicated citizens fought against it every step of the way. Eventually the public outcry grew loud enough that council agreed to stop the project before any more damage could be done. Mayor Dent acknowledged that Edmonton’s transportation system needed work, but he also recognized that “roadways up and down parkways aren’t the solution.”
On July 11, the City of Edmonton is scheduled to start tearing down the Cloverdale Footbridge to make way for the Valley Line LRT, which will run through five city parks.
The Cloverdale Footbridge is a successful social space in a city that struggles to create successful social spaces. It isn’t just a transportation route across the river. It’s the heart of our city. It’s where we go to show off Edmonton’s river valley to visiting friends and family. It’s irreplaceable. And it’s not too late to save it.
If you believe that the footbridge is worth saving, please send an email to your city councillor asking for a pause and review of the Valley Line LRT. Please come to the Honour the River Valley ceremony on the footbridge at 3 pm on July 10, where Blackfoot elder Duane Good Striker and Cree elder Taz Bouchier will speak about the City’s failure to respect Treaty rights and consult with indigenous communities in its LRT planning. Please do not give up, and please do not allow our city to go all the way down the incorrect path. V