History of Slalom at Harvie Passage
When Harvie Passage opened in fall of 2011 slalom athletes were some of the first people to hop on and start using the facility regularly. Training sessions were held at the facility daily and it because the main training venue in Calgary. Daily training on slalom gates only occured on one or two gates at a time because there was no infrastructure planned into the facilily before it was openned.
In 2011 and 2012 work was done to secure approvals to install permanent post and gates system.
In 2012 Alberta Slalom Canoe Kayak (ASCK) held two events to demonstrate the sport to the province and City. The first was a training day and the second was a provincial level race. Both were successful in terms of the training and competition, but they also showed that the facility is safe for slalom and that there is a natural interest by passerbys to stop and watch this unique venue. Here's a video of the Alberta Cup Race: https://vimeo.com/51245968
Just as approvals for a permanent section of gates were coming together in the spring of 2013 The Flood hit Calgary. Harvie Passage went from 200cms on June 19th, up to over 2000cms by June 21st. The power of the water ripped apart sections of the facility, filled in the slalom channel, and created a new channel to the right.
Through 2014-2017 the Province has been working hard to restore Harvie Passage through the Disaster Recovery Program. Already the repairs to the left side of the passage have been reparied and in the spring of 2017 the slalom channel will be re-built.
In 2017/2018 ASCK secured over $200,000 in funding for the construction and placement of concrete anchors, the posts and gates for the slalom course. We cannot thank everyone involved enough for their generous contributions!
Who has contributed so far?
Community Facility Enhancement Program - $95,000
Parks Foundation Calgary - $45,000
Daryl K Seaman Hockey Fund - Calgary Foundation - $21,125 - https://calgaryfoundation.org/grantsawards-loans/types-of-grants/daryl-k-seaman-canadian-hockey-fund/
Alberta Whitewater Association - $10,000
Calgary Kayak Club - $5000
Waterwerks Kayak Club - $2500
110 individuals, 10 Organizations, 5 businesses - $34,000
What Slalom Infrastructure is Needed?
Completed - Part 1 - Anchors - Large concrete blocks that are installed underground, that the posts can slide into.
Completed - Part 2 - Posts - Steel posts are installed into the anchors.
75% Completed - Part 3 - Wires - Between the post, wires are strung so that the gates can be suspended over the river. These will be ~4m above the river!
75% Completed - Part 4 - Gates - Red and greee slalom gates are hung from the wires. These can be moved back and forth across the river so that paddlers can negotiate through them, like slalom sking. When not in use, they will be raised and moved to the island side of the channel
Why Slalom at Harvie Passage?
The Olympic Sport of Canoe Slalom is the only sport, summer or winter, without at least a permanent development level facility in Calgary.
The whitewater park is already being built so it makes sense to use the facility to its potential.
What are the Benefits to you and the community?
A free place for you to paddle
A place to try whitewater slalom within the City limits
Accessibility - An urban slalom course will allow more people to enjoy the sport
Clubs - The kayak clubs within Calgary will be able to run youth and adult programming
Safety - More educated users on the water, makes the river a safer place to be
Performance - It will allow our dedicated atheltes to train more often. They currently have to commute ot the Kananaskis River, or train on flatwater.
We have been working all of the river users as members of the Calgary River Users Alliance. This includes organizations representing: canoeing, kayaking, SUP, rafting, fishing, drift boating.
We have attended and given input into the Bend-in-the-Bow project
We have been a part of the development of the Calgary River Access Strategy
We have presented the project plan to Calgary River Valleys
Frequently Asked Questions:
How high are the wires?
The wires will be about 4m above the water as mandated by Transport Canada
How can this facility be used by slalom paddlers, rafters, canoeists, etc all at the same time?
No one will have exclusive use of the course. It is a public waterway and as such it is open to the public.
Who has the right of way on the course?
Generally the person who is located upstream has the right of way. That said, it usually comes down to the person with the least control has the right of way!
How busy will the course be?
Based on 2012, there will be a steady flow of people in the evenings during the week. At no point in 2012 was the water ever 'crowded'.
When are the main slalom training hours?
The athletes usually train 8-10am and/or 3-6pm. Weekdays will be more important than weekends as the athletes are often out of town racing or training on other venues on the weekend.
What is the impact on parking?
We are working with the Bend-in-the-Bow and River Access Strategy projects to find appropriate locations for parking
Why is this happening so quickly?
Approvals have been waiting for the Province and the City to develop a management relationship for the facility. Now, with construction on the slalom channel only a couple of months away, time is of the essance in order to make this happen.
Why is ASCK fundraising before final approvals?
With such a narrow window before construction begins, it is necessary work to secure the funding needed for the slalom infrastruction.