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    Categories: Local News

Mountain bike skills park rides again

PEDALLING FORWARD – The city is taking another run at establishing a mountain bike skills park.

Two new sites are on the table for a mountain bike skills park.

Public feedback will be sought for both sites, 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 by March 31, 2014 with the results and recommended next steps on Monday night.

Chris Jardine, general manager of community and protective services for the city, told council after the rejection of the Liberton Park site, more sites were considered. They’ve since narrowed the sites down to three, two of which are considered preferred. The third site, along 170 Street, is considered infeasible due to access issues.

The Gloucester Park site is favoured by the advisory committee and the Riel site is favoured by administration, the report said.

Coun. Malcolm Parker asked if there has been an analysis of the need for a mountain bike skills park, and whether or not it’s driven by a special interest group. He said such a need analysis should be done before any final decision on the park.

“We can definitely see there is growing interest,” Jardine said.

Parker wanted to know if cost overruns are expected and if so, if a business case would be in front of council at budget time.

Jardine said the project has been approved for $25,000 for planning and $175,000 for development, and the plan is to stick with that budget.

Coun. Wes Brodhead wanted to know if community support should be given more weight in the scoring matrix being used to analyze site potential.

“You are the ones who have to put that weight where it belongs,” Jardine said.

“I think by and large we recognize this is an appropriate facility for our community,” Brodhead said. ‘The problem, however, has always been to find the appropriate site.”

Coun. Cathy Heron said in her recent campaigning she has heard about the need for the park.

“It’s not just a couple of people,” she said.

Coun. Len Bracko noted it’s a facility that would benefit more than just youth.

“It really is for everybody,” Bracko said.

Coun. Cam MacKay praised the report for presenting reasonable options and plans for public consultation.

‘It’s nice to see a report come together like this,” he said.

Mayor Nolan Crouse noted the evolution of the project, commenting perhaps it would already be completed if it had continued to be a recreation dirt bike mogul track.

Council passed the motion to move forward with public consultation about both preferred sites and have administration report back by March 31, 2014 unanimously, with Coun. Roger Lemieux absent.

A member of the mountain bike skills park advisory committee said he’s excited with both sites that have been picked out and proposed.

“I’m cautiously excited,” said mountain bike skills park committee member Jason Wywal about the motion’s passage.

Now the group will work with city administration to move forward with public consultation. The group will also try and raise awareness about the proposed bike skills park.

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