If You Build It, They Will Come
Each day, St. Albert residents and visitors enjoy the many amenities that Riel Recreation Park has to offer since it’s redevelopment. Situated in the southwest corner of St. Albert at 47 Riel Drive, Riel Recreation Park attracts athletes and fans from across the Capital Region who use the multipurpose artificial field, as well as the rugby and soccer facilities. Right next door you’ll find a 92-stall RV campground, banquet hall and rodeo grounds – home to the ever-popular Rainmaker Rodeo.
Who would have thought that a dry landfill could become so much more?
From its beginnings in the 1950s as a sewage lagoon cell, to a dry landfill in the 1970s, the area was transformed into recreational facilities in the 1980s and 1990s. But by 2005, our fast-growing community had felt a need for even more recreational space. Mindful of the potential impact to the river from the historic sewage lagoon and landfill, the City decided to close the area for further redevelopment, putting the City’s natural environment pillar of sustainability into action.
Through the next decade, revitalization of the underdeveloped brownfield has resulted in a 30-hectare recreation park, plus a five-acre restored wetland, Riel Marsh. Along with eight upgraded soccer and rugby fields, there’s an artificial-turf football field, BMX track, and expanded rodeo exhibition grounds.
Today, the fields are booked for 10,000 hours a year, with thousands more enjoying the recreation and sport amenities. The $30 million Riel Park Project has been supported by the City and numerous stakeholders, including sport and community organizations.
Riel Marsh, adjacent to Big Lake, provides habitat for migrating and nesting birds and is home to beaver, muskrat and waterfowl populations. An interpretive boardwalk through Riel Marsh is now an educational destination for many visitors.
For this accomplishment, St. Albert was recognized as a finalist in the 2018 Alberta Emerald Foundation Awards for it’s outstanding environmental achievements. Environmental Stewardship is an important part of City Council’s Strategic Plan and the Corporate Business Plan to keep our Botanical Arts City green for years to come.
Watch Kristen as she explains how it all happened:
Last edited: July 24, 2018