Inglewood Bird Sanctuary reopens after multimillion-dollar upgrade
By James Windler, Contributor
After a year of work, the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary has fully reopened to the public.
Work began in 2022 after a collaboration between the City of Calgary’s Infrastructure Services, Operational Services and Public Art program.
When it was all said and done the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary received $9.7 million in upgraded park amenities with $750,000 coming from the Government of Alberta’s Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program and Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund, with the other $9 million coming from the City of Calgary.
As of Oct. 16, Calgarians can enjoy the finished product which integrates habitat and water channel restoration with functional art.
Rene Letourneau, senior projects engineer in the Utilities Delivery Business Unit at the City of Calgary took over project management in spring 2022 after a colleague went on maternity leave.
Ward 9 Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra said that the area has been beloved by Calgarians and visitors for over 80 years and the new upgrades will ensure the continued vibrancy of the park into the next 80 years and beyond.
Johnathan Slaney, planning engineer of the reconnection project, touched on the importance of bringing in an artist in the development stages as it helped breathe new life into an important area for the city.
“Having an artist embedded early on in the project really helps to improve the project overall,” said Slaney. “Engineers like to think in straight lines and a lot of nature doesn’t work that way.”
Over the span of three years, artist Tim Knowles collaborated closely with a team comprising of engineers, hydrologists, and naturalists to contribute to the planning of a novel route for connecting the Bow River to the lagoon.
More than a bridge
Additionally, he helped design the pedestrian bridge installed at the sanctuary.
Letourneau was happy to have Knowles involved in the development of the pedestrian bridge as it is important to the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary as a whole.
“We built a pedestrian bridge and it basically does three things; it connects the trails for the public to walk around the sanctuary, secondly, it’s basically a troll for how much flow we want to go down into the lagoon, because we don’t want too much water flowing through there, and thirdly, it’s a public art component,” said Letourneau.
The public can now head down and check at the new improvements of the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary which is located at 2425 9 Ave. SE.