MD making Hogg Park a spring priority
Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 09:08 am
Hope is not lost on a recreational park tucked away in the MD of Foothills that experienced extensive damage in last year’s flood.
The reconstruction of Hogg Park, located alongside the Highwood River west of High River, is on MD council’s priority list.
Raging waters destroyed the lower portion of the campground when the Highwood River flooded in June of last year, making it unsafe for users. The park, located on 64th Street northeast of Longview, typically operates from April 1 to Sept. 30.
“It’s a place that’s pretty special to a lot of people,” said Johanna Kortenschyl-Allan, MD of Foothills community services assistant. “There is interest on council’s side to open the park, but it has to be a measured approach and it has to be a phased approach. We can’t do everything all at once.”
Kortenschyl-Allan said the flood damaged an office, camp kitchen, caretaker residence, washroom facilities and 17 large sites on the lower bench. The upper bench, consisting of a user group area, camp kitchen, washrooms and four campsites, were untouched.
The park’s entrance is located on the lower portion, and much work needs to be done to get it operating and safe for users, said Kortenschyl-Allan.
“The bottom bench really isn’t safe,” she said. “There are some inherent difficulties in access right now.”
Council requested administration to establish options to get the park operating and bring them to council this spring.
“We are looking at being able to develop something or look at some options to be able to use the lower bench, but also to limit the risk and the exposure,” said Kortenschyl-Allan. “All of the options include having the park reopen. We are looking at a short timeframe that we might get a decision on which way we will be going.”
MD staff will also consider costs associated with reconstruction, including how much will be covered by disaster relief money from the Province, and how long it will take to complete the repairs, said Kortenschyl-Allan. With so many communities hiring contractors to repair damage caused by the flood, finding companies to do the work required this summer won’t be easy, she said.
“You can’t just phone up a contractor because… there are so many development projects that are happening with respect to last year’s damage,” he said.
Kortenschyl-Allan expects the repairs will occur in phases with limited development on the lower bench.
Once repair work is complete, she said the lower portion of the park will be different from how users remember it.
“It will have limited development on the bottom bench and that’s just being prudent with respect to safety and risk management,” she said. “A lot of vegetation has been removed.
“Until we see spring and some growth we really won’t know how much growth has come back from last year.”
Hogg Park was donated to the MD in 1981 by Archie and Janet Hogg to be used as a family campground and has become a frequent destination for many people in the area, said MD councilor Delilah Miller.
“It’s a popular destination and it’s a well-used campground,” she said. “A lot of people like that campground.”
Miller said she is glad to see the reconstruction of Hogg Park a priority for council this spring. He hopes to have some of the campground ready for use this summer.
“We probably won’t be open until at least July and hopefully up and running full service again next year,” she said.