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Riel bike park site has major flaws

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  |  Posted: Saturday, Mar 29, 2014 06:00 am

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Concerning the proposed planning of the mountain bike skills park.

Do I understand this right – looking at the picture printed in the St. Albert Gazette – that this mountain bike park has been planned along the Sturgeon River right next to the community gardens? With the island in the river I would assume that this is where it has been planned – or am I mistaken?

That piece of land is a marshland along the river that floods every spring – even during the lowest runoff seasons. During spring times with higher runoffs it is very deep under water for months. That's why nothing has ever grown there. Part of the trail along there never dries up all year round. A long time ago somebody once told me that there is a natural spring in there, that's why it never dries out, not even during the hottest summers. I thought that it is prohibited to infill marshlands in riparian areas.

Even if they should go ahead with that plan, the infill would come at a tremendous cost to the St. Albert taxpayers. Also: No, there are no washrooms anywhere near there. The nearest washroom facilities would be in Lions Park about one kilometre away. And no, there is not “plenty of” parking space there either, unless you mean that piece of rugged roadway that leads to the community gardens, which probably always has lots of people parking there who have plots in the community gardens.

More concerning also: The poor folks who do have plots in that community garden will have their gardens regularly trampled over and vandalized, will have their fruits and veggies stolen on a regular daily basis, and that part, plus the bush part along the Red Willow Trail between there and trestle, will be used as their outhouse facility by the mountain bike park users on a daily basis.

Why has that piece of land next to the “dog off-leash-park” alongside the Lacombe Park Lake never been suggested for the planning of this mountain bike park? There you have the most wonderful hill and natural area for just such a use. It is a fantastic area, just inviting you for that sort of a park, without any extra cost to build up, on that hill right there. Why has this never been considered?

Liselotte Engler, St. Albert


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