City zeroes in on bike park location
No work likely until next year
By: Peter Boer
| Posted: Saturday, Sep 08, 2012 06:00 am
A long-awaited bike park will be located in one of two locations and the city wants to hear from the public about where they think it is best suited.
The mountain bike skills park, originally slated for construction at the Badger lands, will now be built in either Liberton Park or Mission Hill, says recreation services director Monique St. Louis.
The Badger location, she said, was too far away for cyclists to get there safely on their bikes.
“Literally we couldn’t get users there safely if they were cycling,” St. Louis said.
Because of that, construction of the park, originally slated for this year, will be put off until 2013 while the city starts consulting with the public about where it thinks the park belongs.
“We need to get those options out to the public so the public can weigh in on the options,” said Mayor Nolan Crouse.
The $200,000 skills park, for which funds have already been set aside, will be for more than just mountain bike users, St. Louis said. The city will have general concept designs when it officially asks the community for input, but the idea is to incorporate as many styles of cycling as there are for people of all ages.
“The goal is to provide access to all bike users, from little guys to teens and adults, that will serve the whole community,” St. Louis said. “It’s active and passive recreation. It’s got jumps, all sorts of different ways to use bikes.”
An email sent to an account listed on a city webpage for the St. Albert Mountain Bike Club was not returned.
One factor the park will address, though St. Louis emphasized it was a secondary factor, is the presence of bike users at the skate park in Woodlands. Though there are signs posted explaining the park is for skateboarders only, bikers frequently use the park.
“There is a bit of that element but very little,” St. Louis said. “We’ll be looking at the skate park next year. It’s heavily utilized. And there are many sorts of elements to biking. This is about providing recreation to our primary target, which is youth.
The city’s webpage also lists examples of other mountain bike parks in different parts of Canada, such as Canmore, Hinton and Kelowna, all of which feature different elements for different kinds of bike users.
But St. Louis said she first needs to hear from the public to determine the best location for the park. The plan is to solicit feedback from the public in October and November, then present the results to city council in January 2013. The final location will be council’s decision.
“There are lots of reasons to do this,” St. Louis said. “The tricky part is finding a palatable location.”
St. Louis asked members of the public to call her at 780-459-1503 or Micah Seon-King at 459-1716 with their feedback.