A NOTE FROM THE COCHRANE TOURISM ASSOCIATON

The Cochrane Tourism Association would like to provide clarification regarding the misinformation that is circulating about the idea of a Cochrane River Wave/River Trail.

1. This Cochrane River Wave Park/River Trail is an idea.
2. This idea is being explored by the Cochrane Tourism Association (CTA), along with a steering committee, not the Town of Cochrane.
3. There is no funding allocated to the exploration of this idea by the Town of Cochrane.
4. The idea was presented to Town Council in November of 2020, on a recommendation by the Economic Recovery Task Force. It was accepted as information. Town Council stated that before they would consider supporting this opportunity, the organization needed to provide the following:

a. Public Engagement
b. How the idea would be funded.

 

The Tourism Board of Directors would like the residents of Cochrane to understand the following:

This idea is just one of many projects led by the CTA. In 2018, The Town of Cochrane and CTA developed a joint Tourism Strategy to outline the vision, mission, objectives, and goals to improve the tourism industry that contributes to the overall economic sustainability of the community. In 2018, CTA took the lead role in the implementation of the Joint Tourism Strategy. https://www.cochrane.ca/154/Business-Development

What stage is the idea at?

1. A feasibility study was conducted to investigate the potential to create a river wave park/river trail. This included a conceptual drawing of what a park could look like, though no location or facility-related details have been determined.
2 This idea is in very early stages and no decisions have been made regarding how or if it will move forward.
3. Public engagement is an important part of our process and will be ongoing. The first opportunity for engagement included a survey that is now closed.
4. Over 2,000 respondents filled out the survey and the River Wave Park Steering Committee is working on a report to provide to the public in the coming months. Respondents provided feedback both in support and opposition of the project and river recreation on the whole.

How is the Tourism Association Funded by the Town of Cochrane?

In respect to funding, the Town of Cochrane has an annual budget of 60 million dollars of which approx. $60,000/year is provided in operational grant funding to the Cochrane Tourism Association.

Why is the Tourism Association exploring this idea?

The visitor economy is an important component of community economic development. Revenue without growth is a catalyst for spending that fuels local businesses and the entire supply chain. It creates jobs, generates tax revenue, and drives growth in the overall economy for the town, the region, and the province. The visitor economy provides an alternate source of revenue and growth opportunities for businesses without reliance on town growth. Tourism product creation benefits both tourists and Cochranites and is a top priority for the Tourism Association.

Insight into the value of the visitor economy in our country and our province:

In 2018, Tourism was one of Canada’s largest economic drivers – $98 billion annually

• nearly 1 in 10 jobs in Canada is tied to tourism.
• offers significant entrepreneurial opportunities – small and medium-sized enterprises make up 99% of the companies in Canada’s tourism sector.
• non-financial benefits for Canada. It supports cultural preservation, including heritage sites and Indigenous communities. *https://www.destinationcanada.com/en/news/unlocking-the-potential-of-Canadas-visitor-economy

In 2019, tourism spending by visitors contributed to the Alberta provincial economy with:

• 68,000 tourism jobs (full-time equivalent employment in person-years)
• $6.5 billion in contribution to Alberta’s GDP ($3.9 billion direct, $1.5 billion indirect and $1.1 billion induced)
• $1.1 billion in contribution from taxes on products and services, including:

o $530 million in federal tax revenue
o $371 million in provincial tax revenue
o $168 million in local tax revenue
*Alberta Jobs, Economy, and Innovation (Statistics Canada Visitor Spending Model for Alberta – 2019 numbers)

With Covid 19, these numbers have drastically changed in 2020 and 2021. This is the reason the idea of a Cochrane River Wave/River Trail as a tourism asset gained support from the Economic Recovery Task Force. This is a long-term (5-10 year) potential project which has many elements to evaluate before moving forward. There are 19 steps outlined in the feasibility study and the idea is at step #1.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, Cochrane Tourism Association

Jo-Anne Oucharek
Executive Director, Cochrane Tourism Association

Overview

The Cochrane River Wave Park is a conceptual project being explored as part of a broader vision to develop part of the Bow River into a recreational area for resident and tourist use. A feasibility study completed in 2020 determined a river wave is a possible option for Cochrane and is the source of the information available on this website. 

The project is in the very early stages and no decisions have been made regarding how or if it will move forward. Public engagement is an important part of our process and will be ongoing. The first opportunity for engagement included a survey that is now closed. Thank you to everyone who provide input. A report of the findings and next steps will be produced and shared in the coming months.

Cochrane River Wave Park example of Mountain Wave facility

Pictured here is Matthew Robertson on The Mountain wave during the first North American River Surfing Championships in 2017.

Wave by the Alberta River Surfing Association & Surf Anywhere. Photo by Robert Bishop Photography.

The Vision

The 2020 feasibility study identified the opportunity for Cochrane to become a major multi-season river destination. A project like the Cochrane River Wave Park could include:

  • Adjustable river waves
  • River access for put-in and take out
  • Adventure hub for recreational activities
  • Public gathering space
  • Water rescue training facility
  • Habitat improvement and environmental education
  • Supporting facilities

As part of the feasibility study, a conceptual drawing was developed to show what a River Wave Park could look like. This is a concept only, as no decisions have been made regarding the project. If the project moves forward, the location would be evaluated through stakeholder consultation and technical analysis.

Conceptual drawing of what a potential River Wave Park could look like at the River Avenue Bridge in Cochrane. The total cost of the potential project – including construction – is estimated to be just under $10 million, including a 40 percent contingency.

Project Timeline

Several steps must be taken before a decision is made regarding whether a river wave is the right fit for Cochrane, or what a river recreational area could look like. We are committed to open, transparent communication as we engage the community and learn more about how people would like to use the Bow River in Cochrane.

An important step is hearing from the public, and that’s where we are now. We are committed to open, transparent communication as we engage the community and learn more about how people would like to use the Bow River in Cochrane. The information collected through the survey will be used to help guide the decision-making process around what a river recreation area could look like along the Bow River, and whether a river wave should be part of that vision.

Project Benefits

The possible combination of river waves, recreational, educational opportunities, and environmental improvements could result in substantial cultural, economic, and environmental benefits that would last generations. If this project moves forward, it could capture some of the global surf tourism which is valued at $50 billion a year.

The feasibility study estimates the River Wave Park could generate $2,200,000 to $6,200,000 per year in new economic activity from wave users alone while generating millions of positive impressions every year from around the world. The Bend, Oregon, river wave park generated $4,800,000 in economic impacts in 2017 based on an economic impact study.

Potential elements of the project are outlined below.

THE WAVE

Cochrane River Wave Park rendering wave

A good wave is a driver of economic activity. Good waves are scarce and in high demand. Global wave tourism is valued at $50 billion a year.

Good waves create a spectacle for people to come to the area and draw users, families, and businesses.

SUPPORTING FACILITY

Cochrane River Wave Park Supporting Facility

A supporting facility could create a complete experience for the area. The facility would support wave, spectator, and recreational area usage during events, encouraging tourists to stay in Cochrane longer.
Possible amenities could include equipment rentals, lessons, warm-up, and cool-down areas, food and beverage services, and educational courses on river environment, safety, and history.
Casual floaters on the Bow River could use the facility as an endpoint and a shuttle pickup location to return to downtown or to the launch at Riverfront Park.

RIVER ACCESS

Cochrane River Wave Park River Access

A key aspect of the project vision is improved river access that could provide a safe exit for casual floaters on the Cochrane Water Trail, easy access for people training in the flat water above the wave, and a convenient launch for people going downstream.

The river access could encourage people to safely connect with the river.

NATURAL CHANNEL

CRWP Natural Channel

In the conceptual drawing, the south channel could be a natural channel that would ensure unobstructed fish and boat passage.

Portages could be built into the reinforced island along with improved riparian and fish habitat.

DOG PARK AND PATHWAY

Cochrane River Wave Park and Dog Park

The conceptual drawing of a potential River Wave Park at the River Avenue Bridge shows how the existing dog park and pathway would remain. The area could provide an improved experience for existing users.

CONCEPTUAL LAYOUT OF THE COCHRANE RIVER WAVE PARK

Cochrane River Wave Park Concept Design

This conceptual layout shows two channels: One natural channel and one wave channel, and the supporting facility applies to any of the potential locations. The layout could be customized for the final location.

WATER TRAIL AND SHUTTLES

Cochrane River Wave Park Water Trail and Shuttles

Map of proposed water trail and shuttles that could open up the river for recreational use and transport visitors around Cochrane.

POTENTIAL LOCATIONS

These are the possible locations for the potential Cochrane River Wave Park, based only on river elevations from the Highway 22 bridge out of Cochrane. There are other possible locations upstream of Highway 22 that could be considered if no other spots were viable. Selection will be based on many factors including stakeholder feedback, environmental factors, flood risk, cultural factors, navigation, and more.

About us

The Cochrane River Wave Park Steering Committee has been formed and is taking the lead role in exploring the potential for this project. The committee includes the following organizations that fully support the development of the Cochrane River Park:

 

Cochrane Tourism Association
Jo-Anne Oucharek
Co-Chair

Alberta Whitewater Association
Sara Jordan
Co-Chair

Alberta River Surfing Association
Neil Egsgard

Business Development (Town of Cochrane)
Mike Korman

Cochrane Fire Services (Town of Cochrane)
Scott Pletsch

Professional River Outfitters Association of Alberta
Shea Beaton

Cochrane Environmental Action Committee
Tim Geise

Cochrane & District Chamber of Commerce
Kelly Carson

For more information, contact Jo-Anne Oucharek, Co-chair of the Cochrane River Wave Park Steering Committee and Executive Director of the Cochrane Tourism Association at info@cochraneriverwavepark.com.

The project is in the very early stages and no decisions have been made regarding how or if it will move forward. Public engagement is an important part of our process and will be ongoing. The first opportunity for engagement included a survey that is now closed. Thank you to everyone who provide input. A report of the findings and next steps will be produced and shared in the coming months.

Cochrane River Wave Park Logo
Cochrane River Wave Park Examples

Project Supporters

Supporting organizations and representatives include:

Government

  • Cochrane Mayor Genung
  • Cochrane Town Councillor Fedeyko
  • Cochrane & District Chamber of Commerce
  • Economic Recovery Task Force
  • Town of Cochrane Business Development
  • Peter Guthrie, P. Eng, MLA Airdrie-Cochrane
  • Blake Richards, MP, Banff-Airdrie

 

Business

  • Aquabatics
  • Cochrane Business Network
  • Kelsey’s Caravan Adventure Hostel
  • Hunter Valley Adventures
  • Bruce Kendall, Business Developer’s Liaison
  • Surf Anywhere

Not for profits

  • Cochrane Environmental Action Committee
  • Cochrane Rotary Club
  • Cochrane Tourism
  • Spray Lakes Sawmills Family Sports Centre
  • Cochrane Lions

 

Provincial Wave User Associations

  • Alberta River Surfing Association
  • Alberta Whitewater Association

 

National Sports Organizations

  • CSA Surf Canada
  • Canoe Kayak Canada

This page is always under development providing updated information on this potential project.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following questions and answers have been developed based on the feasibility study, which was completed in 2020.

Last updated September 2021

Economic benefits, costs, and return on investments

The Cochrane River Wave Park could be a large driver of tourism that will attract new people to visit Alberta and encourage businesses and families to move to Alberta. The planning and construction process will employ Albertans.

Once operating, the project could generate over $5M each year in economic activity. This project aligns with the Alberta Government Economic Development, Trade, and Tourism: Ministry Business Plan 2020 – 2023. In particular, the project aligns with Key Objective 4.3 to “grow new, expanded and refreshed tourism products in support of destination and seasonal diversification.”

Global surf tourism is valued at $50 billion per year. The waves could generate between $1,800,000 to $6,000,000 a year in new economic activity from wave users alone. Alberta has only minimal surf-related economic activity and this would be a new economic activity. Existing river waves around the world generate millions a year in economic activity for the surrounding areas.

The Bend, Oregon, river wave park generated $4,800,000 in economic impacts in 2017.

As of 2020, the early budget cost is $9,970,000 including 40% contingency.

The return on investment is estimated to be between 3 to 7 years. Return on investment is based on 9 months of usage. The usage was calculated based on other facilities in similar climates. The 3 year ROI includes all river wave park users including spectators.  The 7-year return only includes wave user spending with usage at 30% of capacity.

 

The average surfer spends $62.50 per surf session and makes on average $75,000 per year. The spending is based on lodgings, food, gas, equipment, and additional local spending.

The potential wave usage could provide a total of 100,000 two-hour-long surf sessions from March to November each year. This spending charts includes wave user spending and does not include spectator spending.

Spending numbers come from major US and UK studies of surfer spending.

Yes. River wave parks are proven economic activity generators with examples going back 35 years. Good, free-to-use river wave parks consistently generate millions in economic activity each year.

Every year there are new pumped wave facilities being constructed around the world that cost tens of millions of dollars and generate profits. There are multiple private, pay-to-use river wave parks around the world.

The current market rate for wave riding at a commercial facility is $1 / minute which means the wave usage at the Cochrane River Wave Park has a market value of over $3M at only 30% capacity.

The Cochrane wave would be predictable, if you plan a vacation a year in advance and spend thousands of dollars you know the waves will be there when you arrive. Wave users and spectators get more time with waves in one day in Cochrane than in a month at the ocean because river waves are always working.

Cochrane offers a huge variety of high-quality and other accessible attractions.

Yes, the economic impacts have taken Cochrane’s weather into account.

The winter months have no usage, spring and fall have reduced usage and the flood season has reduced usage. Wave users travel for predictable waves in cold weather.

There is heavy usage of the existing Kananaskis surf wave all year round. Bend, Oregon, with a similar river wave park has similar weather, and the park generated $4.8M in economic activity 1 year after opening. In the summer of 2017, the first full summer after opening, the Bend River Trail had 181,000 users. In all of 2017, the Bend River waves were estimated to have 17,000 to 33,000 visits and many times that the number of spectators.

 

Bend, Oregon, average temperatures

 

Cochrane, Alberta, average temperatures

There is no competition outside of the coasts and the southern United States. The closest good waves are over 1,000 kilometers away on the Pacific ocean.

The map below shows surf waves and is from MagicSeaweed (https://magicseaweed.com/). The light blue markers are ocean waves. The blue dots are consistent river waves. The red dot is the Project location.

In the US, houses within walking distance of a surf break showed that houses close to a surf break had an increased value of $100,000 compared to houses further away from a surf break.

At this time, no money is coming from the Town of Cochrane taxes and no money will be requested for the next few stages. The money for the project will come through a combination of community fundraising, local donations, local partnerships, corporate donations of goods and services, events, grants, and public funds.

Well-built river waves have very minimal ongoing costs.  The design will make the minimal seasonal maintenance very easy to perform.  If costs occur from major flood events, the Alberta River Surfing Assoc will cover these costs through a maintenance fund.

The lifespan, based on other parks is approx. 25 years.

If the project moves forward, the supporting facility would generate enough income to pay for the upgrades at the end of the lifespan as well as annual operating costs. Funds would be put away annually to pay for upgrades.

As per the recommendations in the feasibility study, the River Wave Park would be operated by a newly formed, local organization.

Indoor waves powered by pumps cost millions to build and when operating require the same amount of electricity as an entire neighbourhood.

Outdoor pool based waves cost tens of millions and also have high operating costs. Powered wave generation facilities have high user fees.

River wave park projects have minimal operating costs, improve the environment, operations do not contribute to climate change, can provide both free and pay-to-use wave recreation, and create a river trail.

Community Consultations

In 2020, project information was distributed to local organizations, all levels of government, and the surrounding community associations listed on the Town of Cochrane Community Associations Webpage.

Feedback has been gathered through the website, email, a survey, and the Town of Cochrane.

Community consultation is ongoing. The first opportunity for engagement included a survey that is now closed. Thank you to everyone who provide input. Feedback will continue to be collected via the feedback button on this website, comments to the Town of Cochrane, and public discussions with community members. Extensive community consultations and stakeholder outreach will continue as the project progresses. We are committed to open, transparent communication as we engage the community and learn more about how people would like to use the Bow River in Cochrane.

Using the Cochrane River Wave Park

The river wave park would be designed and planned for all to enjoy and will be used by large numbers of Cochrane Residents and visitors with thousands of visitors & users each year.

The river wave park could be used as a meeting place, a river access point, a recreation area, a classroom, a research area, and as a place to appreciate the river. The river wave park could be enjoyed by youth, adults, the elderly, surfers, rafters, swimmers, sunbathers, SUPers, casual floaters, paddlers, walkers, waders, environmentalists, and anyone who enjoys experiencing the river. The area could include access to the riverside for both river entrance and exit. The access could be mobility-friendly.

The area could become a safe and easy take-out and put-in point for Bow River floats and paddles.

Spectators and Sunbathers

The beautiful look and sound of the waves could provide a great background for people to enjoy the river. The river recreation would create lots of action for people to enjoy while relaxing on the sunny river banks and bridges.

Rafters & Floaters

The area would be safe for rafters and floaters and provide easy and safe entrance and exit from the river. The river upstream of the wave will be slow and deep making it easy for unskilled rafters and floaters to paddle to the bank. There could be ramps both upstream and downstream of the wave that allow easy river exit and entrance with small rafts. There would be signage notifying rafters and floaters of the wave and the river exits. Rafters and floaters would be able to avoid the wave by taking the south channel or getting out of the river and walking around. If rafters and floaters go over the wave, they would have a fun ride and may fall out of the raft and would then float downstream.

Swimmers

The area upstream of the wave would be slow-moving and deep and would provide a swimming area. Swimmers can go over the waves and would float through the waves and downstream without stopping.

SUPers & Paddlers

The flat and slow-moving water upstream of the wave and the access and exit ramps would provide an easy way for paddlers to leave and enter the river. Paddlers would be able to float over the wave and downstream.

Environmentalist and Nature Lovers

The eroding riverbanks would be stabilized and habitat improvements around the wave and would create a small and accessible natural area. The signage about the river ecosystem and positive river experiences would create good connections between people and the river and more people would care about protecting our rivers.

Students

The Cochrane River Wave Park could provide an engaging classroom for students to learn about how the river works, river ecosystems, river safety, and the physics of wave formation. The area could also allow for school surf competitions. The summer junior river safety & surf program would provide youth training on river safety, river usage, and provide improved river safety for all users.

Research

The river wave park could allow ongoing research into successful urban beach strategies and different ways to shape river waves.

Surfers, kayakers, and wave riders

The waves would provide excellent waves for all levels and types of waves users and become a major tourism destination.

Search & Rescue

Cochrane Fire Department would be able to conduct river rescue training under a variety of river conditions by using the adjustable wave structures. The river rescue training centre coulc offer rescue courses to other river rescue departments in the region and become an additional source of economic impact.


Example of river rescue training in Pemberton, BC

The vehicle is drained of all toxins, thoroughly cleaned, and chained to a concrete pad in the river bed to allow vehicle river rescue training.

Flood Risk

The wave would reduce flood risks because it creates more space in the river for water to flow. The structures that make the waves collapse to the river bottom.  When the structures are flattened there is a decrease in current river levels.  The structures would be flattened well in advance of flood times.

The aim of the potential river wave is to reduce ice jam formation. If the project moves forward, an extensive study of ice jam formation in the area and the effect the river wave park would have on ice jam formation would be completed. The design of the wave would be created to minimize ice jam formation.

Yes, the technology has been used across the world and functions extremely well in rivers like the Bow with high flows and lots of material being moved downriver.

Based on data from other facilities, waves and beaches would return to normal operation shortly after the high water recedes.  Other facilities have gone through major floods and in different locations around the world.  There have been minimal problems.

The structures are designed so that if there is a failure then they fully collapse.  When the structures are collapsed they do not affect river levels.

If the proposed Glenmore east option was built, it would affect Cochrane and significantly change the river in town.  During major flood events, the reservoir would submerge the river wave park . The River Ave. potential project area is outlined in red below. The dark blue line is the reservoir’s normal operating level. The light blue area is the maximum reservoir capacity during large flood events.

 Key Technologies

River waves are created by controlling how the water flows from a high point. There are two key technologies involved, a water level controlling technology and a wave creating technology.

The water level technology controls the water level upstream of the waver and controls which wave(s) get water. This technology also makes it easy for future inspection and maintenance. The water level controlling technology is intended to be Obermeyer Gates or the equivalent.  The gates consist of large plates anchored to a concrete foundation.  The plates are raised and lowered by large bladders or hydraulics or pneumatics. There will be a way to mechanically and manually raise the gates should there be any equipment problems.

 

Side profile diagram of Obermeyer Gate

 

Lowered Gate

 

Raised Gate

The wave creating technology shapes the flow of water going from the upstream high point to the downstream low point. There are a number of different methods for creating waves with new methods under development. Existing wave shaping technologies will be identified and analyzed during the preliminary engineering phases.

The wave shaping technology will take advantage of the year-long research project into river wave formation by Surf Anywhere and the University of Ottawa.

Wave Details

Absolutely, good wave design and good construction result in good waves.  Good river waves have been built in major rivers all around the world and good waves can be built in the Bow.

Cochrane Tourism Association is working with Surf Anywhere, a Calgary river wave consulting company, that has extensive experience building successful river waves in Canada and around the world for over a decade.

There would be one primary channel. The channel could form a single wave or multiple smaller waves in parallel. The waves would be up to 1.5m high from trough to peak.

Yes, the waves will be fully adjustable.  The waves can be changed to make different shapes of waves and to make the best waves at all flows.

Yes, the conceptual plan includes boulder groins creating teaching eddies upstream of the wave, downstream of the wave, and on the island in both the river wave channel and the natural channel.

The conceptual plan will include a beach that would be public and free to use. Some wave times would be pay to use and some wave times would be free to use. This combination of free and pay balances accessibility with project sustaining revenue.

The waves are adjustable allowing for ideal features for all river users that want to ride waves including surfers, SUPers, bodyboarders, kayakers, body surfers, and others.  The waves can be smooth green faces for big carves, whitewater holes, and other shapes.

The waves will be usable all year except for times of heavy ice coverage. pre-flood days and during floods.  Current wave usage in Alberta and other locations shows that the waves will be used whenever they are operating.

Yes, the Alberta River Surfing Association and Surf Anywhere built an excellent surf wave in the Kananaskis called The Mountain in 2014 and upgraded it in 2019.

Surf Anywhere helps surfers and other river users build waves across Alberta, across Canada, and around the world.  Surf Anywhere projects include the Mountain wave in the Kananaskis and the best-manufactured river surfing wave in North America in Bend, Oregon.

In 2020/2021, Surf Anywhere is conducting a year-long river wave research study with the University of Ottawa. Surf Anywhere also provides a wide range of other services to improve river wave experiences.

Safety

Yes, the Alberta River Surfing Assoc. is developing a river safety program that would provide trained river safety personnel. The program would include a junior river safety and surf program for youth each summer that would train young people on river safety, river rescue, river recreation, provide positive river experiences and develop a healthy culture of river safety and respect.

The conceptual plan has the river upstream developed to be slower and deeper, to allow for an easy and safe exit for rafters and would provide easier river access and easier river exits.  The river passage through this section would be much safer for rafters and other river users.

The wave would be designed to have a deep section immediately after the wave. The adjustability of the wave would allow some control over river depth after the wave. The river would be deep immediately after the wave due to the movement of the water around the wave.

As river users move downstream, the river would become more shallow and be very similar to current conditions. The depth of the river would be impacted by flows with higher flows making the river deeper and lower flows making the river shallower.

The waves would be adjustable and can be quickly and completely flattened at any time.  If nighttime usage is not desired, the waves could disappear every night and reappear every morning.

The design would include a number of spots for floaters to exit the river before the wave.  The river before the wave is deep and slow making it easy to exit.  Boats could safely float over the wave.  There would be signage indicating the different routes and exits.

The RCMP, rescue, and fireboats could bypass the waves via the channel which will be unchanged.  The waves could be completely flattened allowing the RCMP, rescue, and fireboats to go over the wave’s location.

Environmental Benefits & Impacts

As part of the construction, the nearby river habitat and the riverbank habitat would be improved.  The improvements would make those areas better for the animals and plants that live there and that are there seasonally.

The project would be self-compensating meaning there would be an increase in good river habitat and riverbank habitat as a result of the project.  The improvements at the wave would protect the area from further erosion while retaining natural elements of the area.

Large sections of eroding riverbank would be stabilized including the creation of habitat. Habitat on the island would be improved as part of the project.

The waves and urban beach would bring a lot of people to the area and create positive and memorable experiences with the river.  The more people are aware of the river and have positive river experiences, the more they would care about protecting river health.

The area could be an excellent river ecosystem education location including signage for a large number of visitors and educational programming.

Yes, fish could easily be able to pass the waves.  The Bow River has existed here for over 100 years.

Yes, if the project moves forward, it would include a full environmental assessment. The environmental assessment would be used to help improve the area’s river (aquatic) and riparian (riverbank) habitat and avoid negative environmental impacts.

The feasibility study included a desktop environmental assessment based on the Alberta Government Landscape Analysis Tool (LAT) and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Aquatic Species at Risk Report (ASRR).

The desktop assessment identified the following areas that need further review: endangered and threatened plant ranges, key wildlife and biodiversity areas, other sensitive and endangered species, sensitive raptor range, sharp-tailed grouse survey, chinook grasslands, foothills parkland grasslands, grassland, and parkland natural region and bull trout. This project could be an opportunity to improve habitat and have a substantial positive environmental impact.

Cultural Benefits

This project could take a minimally used section of the Cochrane riverfront and create a vibrant public gathering space and cultural anchor for most of the year.

Good recreational river waves are proven draws for users and spectators and become regularly used spaces for public events.  The urban beach would create a low-risk space for people to enter, exit, experience, and connect with the Bow River.

The urban beach would be usable by everyone.  Wave usage is a low impact and low-cost recreation.  This means the waves can be enjoyed by all ages from children to seniors.

The conceptual design of the riverbank area would include sloped access between levels to allow for wheeled access such as wheelchairs and strollers.

The waves could provide an excellent training ground for surf and other wave-riding athletes.  The waves would be free to use, very high quality, and are available for most of the year.  This combination means athletes of all ages could spend many hours improving their skills and entertaining the spectators and beachgoers.

Wave users could easily start in Cochrane and end up representing Canada at the Olympics and other international events.

If the River Ave location was selected, the dog park would remain but there would be better and safer river access.

Parking and access management would be thoroughly examined in future stages of the project.

There could be are a variety of access solutions based on the location.  This may include on-site parking, off-site parking with shuttle access, parking at the Spray Lakes Sawmill Family Sports Centre or a combination of options.

Noise and other impacts would be studied in detail during future stages of the project.

To manage noise, the Cochrane River Wave Park could be closed at night and at other sensitive times. The river waves are adjustable which means the river waves could be made to disappear at any time and the area usage will be minimal.

A variety of access options would be investigated to minimize the impact of usage on area residents.

The Town of Cochrane has published a Traffic Plan to improve traffic in Cochrane. An analysis of current and expected traffic patterns would be part of future stages in the project and the project design would incorporate the findings to minimize traffic impact.

Existing Area Plans

Yes. Many planning documents were reviewed and the project aligns with the following planning documents.

 

Provincial & Regional Plans

 

Town of Cochrane Plans

How to Support

We are looking for sponsors and partners for this high visibility legacy project that could permanently improve Cochrane. Supporters & Partners can provide funding, donations of services/materials, or other assistance.

For more information, please reach out to us directly at info@cochraneriverwavepark.com

Have any questions or comments?

We value everyone’s opinion and welcome all comments and questions!

Please send them to info@cochraneriverwavepark.com