Bike park public meeting is key: city
Mayor says Riel Park location probably the best one
By: Stu Salkeld
| Posted: Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 06:00 am
Want to have your voice heard about the new mountain bike skills park to be developed? Then pedal into one of the open houses coming up soon.
The upcoming City of St. Albert-sponsored open houses start Jan. 15, and are a very important part of the process for selecting a site for the park, said Mayor Nolan Crouse.
The first open house, Jan. 15 at Sir George Simpson School, runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The second is scheduled Jan. 18 at Grandin Clubhouse, and runs from 1 to 3 p.m.
Two potential sites have been identified by the city: one in Gloucester Park and the other along Riel Drive.
Council passed a motion for administration to start the public consultation process for both sites and report back with the results by March 31 and recommendations at a September council meeting.
Several letters to the editor have appeared in the Gazette from Grandin residents opposed to having the bike skills park there. Some of the concerns include traffic, noise, safety and quality of life.
Crouse said the open houses are vital for the public to have their concerns noted, and he has previously attended open houses in other neighbourhoods like Lacombe Park and Mission Hill.
Crouse said his gut feeling is that Riel Park, which holds many other recreation fields and clubs, is the best spot for the bike skills park. He said a Riel Park address would be least intrusive and most central, “... and the least controversial.”
Crouse said finding a central location should be a priority so youth who want to use the bike skills park don’t have a long way to go after school.
“Unless I hear something different, that’s my end point,” he said.
Crouse said the proposed Gloucester Park location is approaching the edge of the city and he feels that won’t be very convenient, especially for youngsters.
The mayor said letters to the editor are not the only feedback that’s been flowing. He’s heard it at city hall too.
“My office has probably received 15 emails opposing the Gloucester and supporting the Riel Park,” said Crouse.
The mayor recalled one comment in support of the Gloucester location.
Budget-wise, Crouse said a $200,000 budget has been approved for the bike skills park, and, even though that was in 2011 dollars, he wants to see the budget stand firm.
Crouse said if there are any inflationary or extra costs, he would strongly encourage those to be factored into future growth rather than included now.
A not-for-profit society has been formed in conjunction with the bike skills park, noted the mayor, and the park is intended for a recreational user, not intense competition or “extreme sport” user.
Anyone can submit input online up to Jan. 24 at the following address: www.stalbert.ca/bike-skills-park.