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Bike park on Seven Hills would be the ruin of St. Albert

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  |  Posted: Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 06:00 am

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Dear Nolan Crouse, City of St. Albert council, St. Albert commerce and residents: Here are some vital points when considering a bike park for the Seven Hills location.

Imagine driving northbound on St. Albert Trail during the warmer months, looking over to the left: you see rolling hills of green, the Little White School, the old St. Albert parish alongside the Lacombe Chapel. In the wintertime, the white hills are spilling snow and there are happy children, parents, grandparents, young and old creating memories to last a lifetime while tobogganing as they have for decades, if not since the beginning of time.

What a sight of community togetherness, a place of winter fun and exercise for at least seven months of the year. A place that makes one feel proud to live in St. Albert. Seven Hills is and has always been a place like a landmark of its own town. Probably the largest and most visible green space St. Albert has. It is a place of nostalgia, a place where people come to be ‘one’ as a community. This is the place where thousands of people gather during the summer fireworks and winter.

Now, let us take a good view into the proposed future of the Seven Hills’ destruction and replacement by a bike park. Close your eyes and imagine looking up to a vacant site resembling a strip-mining site. Nothing but mud and dirt with objects made of composite materials standing alone in the former historical site of Seven Hills.

It is summer, and the wind is gusting, creating a storm of dust, since there are no more rolling hills of green grass. There are people from near and far loitering around our former historical sites, looking to relieve themselves anywhere they can.

This would become an invitation to all sorts, since it would be a free site, people from all walks of life could (and not necessarily local residents) hang around all day looking to use the bathrooms all along the streets adjoining nearby Seven Hills. This site of course, would not be limited to individuals using the bike course, let’s be realistic … we would see strange faces loitering on our streets downtown.

Eventually, there would be more break and enters to the downtown businesses and nearby homes. Our beautiful Red Willow park by city hall would be swarmed with persons who have no other place to be: littering, drug dealing, performing acts of sexual misconduct. The destruction of public and private properties would be on a constant rise. This would drive up our taxes to repair damages and with time, residents would fear living near the bike park or even simply using the trails for running, jogging or walking. Property values would decline.

What our forefathers worked so hard to build would be diminished in a matter of a couple of years. Once our reputation is gone, it is gone forever! The safety of our children, elderly and families comes first. In the real-estate world, we would lose so much value to the whole surrounding area. Are we aiming to attain the loitering and delinquent behaviour that our neighbouring city got from its Whyte Avenue?

The Mayor, the council and persons involved in this very ‘back door deal’ need to find an appropriate location, such as the industrial park by Servus Place or Riel Park. We have a democratic process to follow … the mayor and council did not let the community and local residents vote on this matter. They claim that they sent out postcards; addressed letters, not cards, should be mailed to all community and/or business members concerned. Such communication should be clear and straightforward when conjuring up any brainless idea such as this one.

Erika Stein, St. Albert


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