The Nowhere Road
We live a few hundred metres from a recent ruin in the river valley everybody around here knows as the End of the World. A useful, poorly engineered connector called
Keillor Road slid into the North Saskatchewan River, the casualty of a steep and
swiftly eroding river bank. The mini disaster occurred in 2003. And good
riddance, uphill it was a bastard of a bicycle climb. Fortunately, City of engineers were
savvy enough to listen to the warning tremors. Keillor was closed to traffic
long before it dropped off the face of the Earth. Edmonton
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look upon my works, ye Mighty and despair!” There’s something compelling about “vast, trunkless legs of stone,” ruins, whether they date from antiquity or these times. All human structures (indeed our institutions and every single one of us as well) must eventually decay and collapse. Perhaps counter-intuitively, we tend to preserve remains because mortal wreckage possesses its own eerie beauty and, anyway, we seem to value our touchstones and reminders.
The End of the World as I know it consists of a concrete ledge, graffiti tagged cement pilings, a treacherous slope and an incredible vista of the great meandering river which eventually empties into
’s Bay. The area
has been fenced off and NO TRESPASSING signs are abundant. Unsurprisingly, the
site, with its whiff of illegality and danger, became a magnet for young people
after dark. And honestly, if I was 35 years younger, I’d probably be hanging
out on this spectacular precipice with a six-pack and a bag of pot albeit
wearing sensible shoes with their laces tied and double-knotted. Hudson
Congregating kids create community concerns. Whether they were reared by Baptists or educated by Jesuits, unleashed teens are more destructive than house pets. As the gang grows, so does the lack of good manners and common sense. The trouble with bush parties isn’t young people having frowned upon fun so much as the aftermath of ecological damage, vandalism and, particularly galling to me, littering a parks area.
Thanks to the efforts of our community league members, End of the World has become bigger than our neighbourhood. The City is now actively engaged in determining the future of the site rather than just ticketing trespassers. To me, the most sensible solution of those floated is to safely exploit the uniqueness of a modern urban ruin. Transform End of the World into a modest attraction in a river valley trail system already rife with modest attractions, opening the site to all would virtually eliminate its existing illicit lure.