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Is bike park really needed?

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  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jan 30, 2013 06:00 am

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With regards to the debates on where the bike skills park should be: In the St. Albert 2012 Community Satisfaction Survey (on the city's website), there’s one question that is most important – 40 per cent answered more parkland and green space.

Hmm. Both Mission Hill and Liberton have been just that for many, many years. So why did the city managers pick those locations, because supposed requirements for the bike park are a park-like setting and links to the trail system so children and youth are able to bike to it. The only access to Liberton is from the west side on a trail. So how do the youth and children get to it from the east? They either have to go all the way around the shopping mall by the river (bike trail) then up the hill past Seven Hills and then get around McKenney Avenue to a bike trail. How many are going to do that? The quickest way is St. Albert Trail (six lanes of trafffic) and then Liberton Drive, which has become very busy with the businesses growing between Sobeys and Tim Hortons. It would be an accident waiting to happen, as headphones are a staple and no one looks where they are going. We also have many undeveloped parks that could be used in neighbourhoods where access is easier for those wanting to use the park.

Currently we are servicing debt to maintain existing facilities such as Servus Credit Union Place, Fountain Park Recreation Centre, etc. According to the community survey, maintenance issues are at most of our facilities and not being kept up. So why would we rip up an established green space when the only maintenance right now is grass cutting every two weeks for three to four months a year?

This $200,000 would be better spent on some required infrastructure like maybe some sidewalks at certain spots along St. Albert Trail. Or maybe transit, as for a city this size the transit service has much to be desired for the increase in price every year.

One might want to also look at the top reasons for dissatisfaction for our current skateboard park: drugs/graffiti/foul language, lack of supervision/security, attracts the wrong people/troublemakers, facility is too small and needs renovations.

I fully agree with having facilities for our youth and adults to use, but when basic infrastructure and current facilities are not being maintained or improved, common sense must prevail.

Do we need this facility or do we want this facility? I commend Kevin Metcalfe for wanting to donate time and help build it but will he be there after 10:00 every night in the summer and will he also help with the maintenance and cleaning up of graffiti and garbage? It would have been much preferred if the city had left the outdoor ice rink in Liberton, since there always seems to be a shortage of ice, but apparently nobody used it.

C. Piche, St. Albert


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