In 1989, Alderman Al Duerr called upon prominent local architect and environmentalist Bill Milne to oversee the creation of a renewed “River Valleys Committee” (RVC) and act as its inaugural Chairman. This was no coincidence, as Milne was one of Calgary’s leading advocates for river protection and the original visionary behind the idea of Kananaskis Country as a protected environmental area. (Notably, Milne also designed the Calgary Tower, and Ald. Duerr was elected Mayor of Calgary in 1990.)
They then invited members from all interest groups associated with Calgary’s river valleys to establish a committee that would report directly to City Council. Set up under the administration of the Parks Foundation Calgary, the original RVC embraced 47 organizations with an elected Executive of eight volunteers, plus six Advisors from government departments. Over the years, the committee addressed many issues that needed immediate attention, as well as long-term issues such as power boats on the Bow and Elbow Rivers and the Western Headworks Weir downstream from the Calgary Zoo. The committee also organized public forums to discuss issues of general interest and played significant roles in the Urban Park Master Plan (UPMP), Go-Plan and Plan-It-Calgary processes (1995, 98 and 2009, respectively).
The committee’s relationship with the Parks Foundation ended in 2009 and its former directors and staff registered Calgary River Valleys (CRV) as a separate independent organization (officially known as the Calgary River Forum Society).