Construction for new design of Eau Claire on way after iconic Olympic Arch put in storage

·2 min read
The City of Calgary has packed up the Eau Claire arch and hauled it off to storage as the plaza gets a facelift.  (City of Calgary - image credit)
The City of Calgary has packed up the Eau Claire arch and hauled it off to storage as the plaza gets a facelift. (City of Calgary - image credit)

The city has packed up the iconic arch in the Eau Claire plaza — signalling the area is ready to undergo some major changes.

The Olympic Arch, built to celebrate Calgary hosting the 1988 Winter Games, had been there for the past 33 years.

It will now sit in storage until it's ready to rejoin the plaza after construction finishes.

But that's not the only antique item that will be reintegrated, according to a city news release. The city plans to use as many existing elements as possible to limit the amount of waste being sent to local landfills.

"Paving stone from the plaza have been salvaged and will be reused at parks around the city," said Dennis Hoffart, project manager for the Eau Claire Plaza redesign, in the release.

City of Calgary
City of Calgary

"Lumber from trees that were removed from the plaza will be used to construct architectural elements of the new design, including benches and tables. Others have been used to restore flower beds on Prince's Island Park and to improve fish habitat in the river system."

Coun. Druh Farrell told the Calgary Eyeopener that three major projects are taking place: flood mitigation, replacing the Jaipur Bridge and a new plaza in Eau Claire.

"We've been planning for, gosh, at least 15 years," she said.

"So all of that work is happening at once, and it's very disruptive. But the end result will be quite beautiful."

Farrell says there's also a new opportunity for the area now that the Green Line LRT plans to add a stop inside a building within the plaza.

"So similar to what we did with with the central library … we can have the train land within the building," said the Ward 7 representative.

City of Calgary
City of Calgary

"We will be creating public transport opportunities that is really historic and will benefit Calgarians for generations."

Farrell notes the area is on one of the busiest pedestrian and cycling routes in the city with up to 5,000 people going through it daily.

"The detours [for construction] have been quite complicated to design. And some of them will hopefully become permanent because the area is so incredibly busy," she said.

The price for the three projects will be about $58 million.

Farrell says the result will make the area a lot nicer than it is now.

She expects it will be finished by fall 2023.

Visit Eau Claire Area Improvements construction and detours for construction updates for the area.

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