Construction on the Bridgeland-Riverside rain garden projects has been rescheduled to begin in spring, 2013 due to budget constraints.
“This summer, the sole bid that was received in response to the project construction tender did not meet the project requirements within budget,” Michelle Mueller, the public program co-ordinator at the city’s Water Resources office, explained in an interview.
Mueller said the tender will be resubmitted next spring.
A rain garden is a structured plant bed built to capture and filter stormwater (runoff rainwater) before it enters Calgary rivers.
“[They] help protect our rivers, fish and drinking water by reducing the quantity of pollutants that run from our yards and roads straight into our waterways untreated,” said Mueller.
Building the rain gardens is one of the ways the city is working to meet the stormwater management strategy.
Rain gardens are an alternative way to protect rivers in communities that don’t have sufficient space for large ponds or wetlands, the most common methods used to treat stormwater.
“The beautiful plants that are used in the gardens are water-wise and low-maintenance. They attract birds, butterflies and even mosquito-eating dragonflies,” added Mueller.
The gardens will be built in the community of Brigeland-Riverside at two locations.
One will be in Riverside Park, near the northeast corner of McDougall Road N.E. and 11 Street N.E.
The other will be constructed in Murdoch Park, south of the Bridgeland-Riverside Community Centre parking lot.
Mueller said the city wants to ensure it delivers rain gardens that meet the needs of the community while protecting Calgary’s water quality in a sustainable manner.
Residents of Bridgeland-Riverside were heavily involved in the planning and design of the gardens.
The city held several community meetings over the spring and summer. Residents learned about stormwater and were shown different rain garden designs.
“I was happy to be involved in something so beneficial to our community,” said Rochelle Flancia, a Bridgeland-Riverside resident.
The city has received an very positive response from Calgarians regarding the project.
“The residents of Bridgeland-Riverside have been incredibly supportive about the gardens during our community engagement events and were excited that their community had been chosen for a demonstration rain garden,” said Mueller.
Visit the City of Calgary’s website for more information about the Bridgeland-Riverside rain gardens and to see images of the recently constructed rain gardens in the community of Winston Heights-Mountview.