Town of High River Begins Study to Transform Former CP Rail Lands

HIGH RIVER, AB: The Town of High River has initiated a study to explore how the community can redevelop the former Canadian Pacific (CP) railway corridor, which was acquired by the Town in January 2016.

To complete the study, the Town has hired O2 Planning + Design and will be engaging residents and stakeholders over the summer to develop a conceptual master plan for the corridor along 1 Street S.W. up to 12 Avenue.

“To gather input on the design process, the project team will be contacting downtown businesses before the end of June, and will also be attending the July 6 and July 27 Farmers’ Markets in order to collect feedback from the High River community,” says Khalid Mohammed, manager of planning and development services with the Town.

The goal of the study is to develop a document that will guide the transformation of the barren corridor into a series of community spaces that are well integrated with adjacent areas, and become a community asset which may leave a positive and lasting impression on residents and visitors alike. The document will be presented to Council in September.

“During operation of the railway, the corridor functioned as a catalyst for growth, but today, the corridor is 28.6 acres of underutilized space that no longer spurs downtown commerce,” adds Mohammed. “Building on the preliminary concept from the 2015 Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP), the Town believes the corridor still has a role to play in modernizing and enhancing the function of downtown High River.”

Using the Downtown ARP as a jump point, the study will evaluate how this portion of the corridor can accommodate underground services, provide back-of-house services for adjacent businesses, create walking and cycling connections, provide additional parking opportunities for downtown users, and promote private investment in the downtown area.

The study will also provide recommendations for redeveloping the portions of the corridor external (north and south) to downtown to further complete the Happy Trails network.

A project webpage has been created to provide updates on the project as it proceeds. There is also an opportunity to sign up to a mailing list and receive project updates. An online survey will also be posted in early July for those who wish to participate at their own convenience.