With the Calgary Stampede about to start, several sidewalks and gutters in neighbouring Ramsay have been torn up for replacement, leaving residents wondering why the projects couldn’t wait.
During the annual 10-day rodeo and exhibition, the southeast community of Ramsay is flooded with visitors climbing up Scotsman’s Hill to get a glimpse of the nightly fireworks show.
In preparation, the community association and city meet in advance to discuss traffic and parking plans. Jersey barriers block access to several streets, and parking is limited to Ramsay residents to help manage the chaos.
But one thing Ramsay Community Association vice-president Erin Joslin said never came up this year was the fact there would be more than a dozen sidewalk projects underway. That includes two gaping holes on Burns Avenue along the main route up to the hill.
“Somewhere along the way, lines have obviously gotten crossed and they’ve gone and started a sidewalk improvement project in our neighborhood, which has left big holes,” Joslin said. “These open pits are not going to be ideal for the late-night people leaving the fireworks.”
Residents in the community already have trouble moving around because of Stampede, said Sherri Haggart. With the construction, Haggart worries about safety as well.
A City of Calgary map plots out ongoing sidewalk repair projects in Ramsay. (City of Calgary)
She owns a construction company and said these projects take time to complete.
“It’s just such bad timing for all sides of the equation,” Haggart said.
Freshly poured concrete, she added, is another challenge.
“It’s hard enough to keep concrete clean and brushed properly in the best of times,” Haggart said. “Never mind when people are watching fireworks and having a few drinks.”
One of the best vantage points to watch the nightly Calgary Stampede fireworks is on top of Scotsman’s Hill, in the neighbouring community of Ramsay. (CBC)
The city said it had a week’s notice that this contractor was ready to begin work in Ramsay after a long procurement process.
Construction includes sidewalk, curb and gutter replacements.
Because of the timing, the contractor is rushing to have concrete poured by Friday. But recent rain might mean there will be a delay.
The city said proper pedestrian accommodation will be in place and there are already detours redirecting pedestrian traffic to the opposite side of the street if a sidewalk is available.
It added that its expectation is that all contractors maintain safety and accessibility through all construction, adding it would work with the contractor to address any concerns.