After receiving the text message from Robin summarizing his conversation with the Gate Attendant at the Sundance Launch I was surprised and disappointed to learn that sailboats would not be allowed to utilize the Sundance Channel launch site. Subsequently I contacted Jeff McAdam, Manager for Parks and Community Services at Parkland County.
Jeff confirmed the depths of the channel are as shown on the channel depth map on the county website. The channel depths were taken on July 27, 2023, after the dredging operation was completed. Jeff did indicate there were problems dredging the channel and this likely resulted in the shallow depth of the channel near the location where the berm was placed by TransAlta following the CN train derailment in 2005.
The most shallow portion of the channel is shown as 5' on the county map. As previously stated, this depth appears to be present near the berm that was placed across the channel following the oil spill in 2005. The balance of the channel is shown as having a 7' depth. Rob Martin with the Edmonton Yacht Club confirmed these depths after sounding the channel in late August, 2023.
Jeff confirmed there is in fact a reinforced turf crane pad constructed with a composite "Geo Grid" for stability and erosion control. I personally inspected the site and can confirm this is true. The Geo Grid is visible under the fill used at the location, as shown on the conceptual plan for the facility.
Finally, I asked Jeff what the procedure was for launching sailboats at the Sundance Site. Jeff said that if one of the clubs wants to set up a crane at the location for launching sailboats he should be contacted, preferably 2 weeks in advance so that he can make the necessary arrangements to restrict the area while craning is occurring.
In summary, the launch site is open to sailboats. The depths are as shown on the channel map found on the Parkland County website. The water depth on July 27, 2023 when the Parkland County did their soundings shown on the map, as shown as real time data on the Wabamun Watershed Management Council website, was 724.274 meters above sea level. Water depth today is 724.262 meters above sea level or 1/2" lower than it was on July 27. The top of the weir is 724.55 meters above sea level. If we have a wet fall, a high snowfall winter and a wet spring we could see lake levels to the top of the weir, or about a foot higher than the water is now. With this in mind it is possible to see a minimum depth of 6' in the Sundance Channel during high water seasons.
If more information is required please contact Jeff McAdams at the Parkland County office at 780-968-8888.
More information is on this page. Scroll down till you come to Sundance Boat Launch and click on that title. You should see information on the launch, including a link to Channel Depth Map.