Riel favoured for bike park
Council to consider staff recommendation during Monday night meeting
Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 06:00 am
The proposed Riel bike park site will be recommended to council on Monday night.
Chris Jardine, general manager of community and protective services, confirmed the staff report will suggest Riel over Gloucester Park as the better place to put a bike skills park.
“There’s more upside with Riel,” Jardine said.
Public consultation results played a part in the decision to recommend 43R Riel Dr. over Gloucester.
“The survey was pretty compelling. So even non-Gloucester folks felt that a residential area was probably not the best site for a facility like this and given that we have a good alternative, that would be a better area,” Jardine said.
The decision is still in the hands of council, however.
“At this point all I can say is that based on our review … our recommendation is that we move forward with Riel,” he said. “The reality of it is it’s not done until it’s done.”
The bike skills park report will be delivered at 6 p.m., a specially-designated time. Usually reports are delivered whenever the regular council proceedings arrive at that item in the agenda.
While it’s not a public hearing, Jardine said it’s likely people who would like to address council will be allowed to do so.
Don Wilson, an organizer of a recent grassroots town hall and part of the Save Gloucester Park group, said some Gloucester area residents will be attending the meeting and there will be a presentation to council.
Residents have raised a number of concerns over their only nearby park being turned into a bike skills park.
While Wilson is pleased to hear the staff will recommend Riel, given the history of proposing residential areas for a bike skills park they don’t want to presume it won’t end up in Gloucester Park.
“I’m looking forward to a positive vote, I really am. Again, until it’s all said and done and those votes are up on that board, I’m not taking anything for granted,” Wilson said.
Jason Wywal, the president of the St. Albert Bike Association, said some of the members of SABA will be present on Monday as well.
“I think we knew all along that Riel was going to be the chosen site,” Wywal said. “We’re excited. It’s a good location. It’s central.”
Jardine said if council gives the Riel location the go-ahead on Monday, staff will have to wait until mid-spring to get a natural areas assessment done.
If that assessment is positive, they would then do a detailed design and hope to start construction in August or September.