BLESS Photo Monitoring Tour 2010
On July 25, 2010, BLESS members Miles Constable, Pat Collins, Stuart Loomis and Dave Burkhart conducted a photo monitoring tour of Big lake. The tour began at the BLESS Platform and followed much the same route as the photo monitoring tour that was carried out in July 2005.
While many sites photographed in 2005 were essentially the same, some—particularly site 2 on 199 St where the first neighbourhood of the Edmonton Big Lake Area Structure Plan was under construction—had changed substanially over the five years as the photos below indicate.
Neighbourhoods 2 and 3 in the Big Lake area will also soon be under construction so we expect there will be many more changes by the time the next tour takes place.
Several more sites where development is anticipated in the near future have been added to the list to be monitored on the next tour. These include Riel Marsh where Ducks Unlimited will soon be building a boardwalk, the corner of 199 Street and 137 Avenue which will see significant road realignments as 137 Avenue is reconfigured to facillitate Edmonton's urban expansion, the oil and gas installation at 137 Avenue and 199 Street that will someday need to be reclaimed and the recently added gate along the Ducks Unlimited road on the north shore from where construction growth on the south shore of Big lake can be photographed and tracked.
Upland habitat along the south shore is critical to supporting the moose that have so far managed to sustain viable populations within Lois Hole Provincial Park. The loss of this critical habitat from unrelenting urban development will be significant in the coming years as the six neighbourhoods of the Big Lake development are built out. BLESS will continue to monitor the leapfrog Edmonton expansion and will intevene where appropriate to try to mitigate development impacts to have the least possible impact on the park and it's wildlife, habitat and vegetation.