Downtown core’s historic island set for a complete makeover

St. Patrick’s island in Calgary’s down town is set to undergo major renovations to it’s entire landscape next year with a $20 million price tag.

The redevelopment of the 31 acre island is anticipated to begin in the spring of 2013 and conclude in summer 2014.

Construction of the island’s bridge is under way and is expected to be completed next summer.

Combined, both the bridge and the island will cost $45 million.

“Its intention is [for the island] to be restored as a park setting,” said Susan Veres of Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC).

According to CMLC’s website, the island’s restoration is part of CMLC’s strategy to implement the river’s District Community Revitalization Plan.

“It’s important to the redevelopment of East Village,” said Veres.

In April, 2012, CMLC announced it had selected New York based W architecture and Denver based Civitas as the land development team. The team will realize the plan for the island, said CMLC’s website.

St. Patrick’s Island is currently one of the most under-utilized park spaces in the city.

After the island’s redevelopment is completed it is set to gain a much higher profile.

“We want to celebrate the island and highlight its natural setting,” said Veres.

The restored island will feature new nature trails, a water craft launch, festival and performance spaces, as well as picnicking and play spaces, said the CMLC website.

More than 6,000 Calgarians were consulted about the island’s development.

An advisory committee was also created to represent the wants and needs of Calgarians.

After listening to the feedback, the CLMC decided that the island will follow a landscape design approach that recognizes the inherent need to interact with nature.

“The plan is to give Calgarians a useable park space,” said Veres.

About Devon Patterson 6 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Devon Patterson worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2012-2013 academic year.