The Cochrane River Wave Park steering committee is looking to hear from Cochrane and area residents to provide feedback on river use and a potential river wave park in Cochrane. The committee consists of organizations with interests in tourism, business development, river use, safety, and environmental protection. They are hoping to create a conceptual plan for a recreational area to be used by residents and tourists alike.

“Several steps must be taken before it is decided whether a river wave is a right fit for Cochrane, or what a recreational area could look like,” says Jo-Anne Oucharek, Co-chair of the Cochrane River Wave Park steering committee. “An important step is hearing from the public, and that’s where we are now.”

The survey is about collecting feedback on whether respondents are for, against, or can provide added input on the idea of a potential river wave recreation area on the Bow in Cochrane.

According to Oucharek, the idea originated with a survey that was put out by the Cochrane Tourism Association back in 2018 about tourism in general. “At that time, we asked the community about their wish list. Ninety-two per cent of respondents identified they wanted improved river access as a priority.” 

Then back in November 2020, the committee presented a 200-page feasibility study for River Wave Park on the Bow River. Oucharek says, “That determined that a river wave is possible for Cochrane and now we are looking for the community to tell us what they think about the next steps. Is that the right fit for Cochrane do they use the river in Cochrane? What does the public want to tell us? So, that’s where we’re at right now.”

Oucharek and members of the committee know that there are some who are opposed to creating a recreational area along the Bow. For example, there is a dedicated Facebook group called “No Wave Park Cochrane” that is strongly opposed. However, as Oucharek points out, that is the point of the survey saying, “We are looking for input, from the people that are saying that they are opposed to the river park and understanding why, so that’s a big part of it.”

The survey consists of ten questions and provides space for participants to add additional comments on the topic.

Those who participate in the survey will have a chance to win a river adventure.

The survey is now available online on the Cochrane River Wave Park and Cochrane Tourism websites. It will remain open until September 15.