One aspect of our city that Edmontonians perhaps take the greatest amount of civic pride in is our River Valley. It is a ribbon of natural beauty that winds its way through our Capital Region and allows our citizens the opportunity to easily escape the hustle and bustle of urban life and experience some moments of tranquility.
The River Valley is the largest urban parkland expanse in North America, and because of this there are many different experiences available throughout the entire area. This means that some locations remain essentially untouched, with small foot trials that have been created over many years from a small number of people walking through them. It also means that other areas that are far more frequented, and perhaps require some infrastructure investment to allow more people to enjoy the space and to maintain its quality.
I support the concept of keeping our River Valley natural, but we must realize that as our city grows, there will be an increasingly greater number of citizens hoping to enjoy our natural spaces. Due to this, the City of Edmonton must make investments in these spaces to ensure that as they are used by more and more people, they remain as high quality as possible. This means that some locations will need amenities developed, and because of this some may say that our River Valley is losing its natural feel. I appreciate this dissatisfaction. However, I also realize that we must accept a tradeoff. That is, if we wish to keep the vast majority of this space as natural and undeveloped as possible, then some locations will require investment of quality infrastructure to accommodate the large number of people who wish to enjoy it, and to allow them to do so in a safe and inviting manner. With this in mind, I will work to preserve the natural beauty of our River Valley through the very careful and precise infrastructure investment in locations where it is appropriate to do so.