Resistance mounting to bike park at Liberton
Town hall meeting set for Thursday to voice opposition
By: Peter Boer
| Posted: Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 06:00 am
Upset that they weren’t consulted about a mountain bike skills park and what its construction might do to Liberton Park, a group of residents have organized a town hall to make sure their voices are heard.
The town hall will give people living close to Liberton Park the chance to express their concerns, an opportunity many felt they did not receive.
“I think that as a collective group we feel that we haven’t really had an opportunity to be consulted or given a forum to express our thoughts on the matter,” said Selena Paley, a Lacombe Park resident helping to organize the town hall.
City council was set to vote at the end of January on whether or not to build the $200,000 park at Seven Hills in Mission or Liberton Park. Mission residents, parents of students at Ecole Father Jan and other officials objected to the Seven Hills location because of its historical significance.
But instead of holding a vote on building it at Liberton, council decided to delay any vote until June 28 to allow for more consultation with affected residents, as well as to survey any other potential sites.
“There are 100 or 200 of us that are opposing this,” said Paley. “Everyone is going to show up next Thursday to make sure our voice is heard.”
Paley said there are hundreds of residents around Liberton who are opposed to the idea of building the park there.
“Basically we’re pretty pissed off,” Paley said. “We’re not happy with the lack of communication and involvement from the get-go because it just seems the people pushing for this have an agenda and that seems to be the only thing being considered right now.”
Paley isn’t the first resident to object to how the city consulted residents. Many Father Jan parents and Mission residents were upset that materials promoting two November open houses on the bike park did not mention the two proposed locations.
She said residents are also concerned about what the park would do to Liberton itself. While they do not object to St. Albert having a bike skills park, they don’t want to see it built at Liberton.
“I think we need to declare we’re not opposed to a bike skills park but in terms of aesthetics and landscape and parking and how busy it is going to be, it just changes the dynamic of that area,” Paley said.
Mayor Nolan Crouse said he and several councillors will attend the town hall to talk with residents. Crouse has also asked the recreation department to have some staff members attend.
“I believe that it’s an opportunity for residents and staff and elected officials to share information, get input from each other and help each other with a better informed decision,” Crouse said.
He expects most in attendance will oppose building the park on Liberton but he wants to make sure everyone has the best possible facts available.
“Likely we’re going to find the majority of people there will be opposed to the bike park,” said Crouse. “I think we are probably going to have a conversation about whether or not that’s the right location.”
The town hall will be held on Thursday at the Lacombe Clubhouse at 145 Larose Drive from 7 until 9 p.m.