The City of Prince Albert has taken the first step towards approving a new Mountain Bike Skills Park out at Little Red River Park.
Council voted unanimously in favour of a proposal put forward by the Rock N Road Cycling Club at Monday’s executive committee meeting. Mayor Greg Dionne said it’s a great idea that provides outdoor opportunities for Prince Albert youth.
“We have so many sports that are dying because we don’t have youth involved anymore,” Dionne said during Monday’s meeting. “We’re losing our youth to electronics and indoor activities, whereas this is outdoor. It’s great, and you can bike for your whole life.”
Dionne added that Little Red is an ideal site for the park, since it already hosts similar activities like the Pine Needle Mountain Bike Festival.
Other city councillors liked the fact that it was an inexpensive activity that would draw people to Prince Albert.
“People travel, and they spend money … and this is yet another reason why people will travel,” added Ward 8 Coun. Ted Zurakowski, who made the motion to send the plan to the Department of Community Services for further review. “People come to Prince Albert to go to Little Red River Park. Fantastic. Let’s support it.”
The Rock N Road Cycling Club would be responsible for maintaining the trail. The 60-person club has nearly doubled in size over the past year, and Darcy Rusk, the club’s skills park designate, doesn’t see that enthusiasm ending any time soon.
Rusk said they hope to create a park that would cater to mountain bikers of all skill levels, while also taking advantage of Little Red’s natural beauty.
“Our hope is to integrate it into the park seamlessly,” he told council. “We don’t want to disrupt the park itself, or any of the other users.”
The skill park would include an obstacle course, balance training and jump training and drop training zones, and a pump track, which consists of rollers and banked turns. The area would include a covered shelter, picnic tables and garbage bins. The park would be open to the public, at least initially.
Rusk emphasized that they aren’t looking for funding for the project, just permission.
While the skills park itself is well planned out, city officials still need to do some research about the proposed location. Rock n Roll has requested a plateau northwest of Cosmo Lodge with a perimeter of 2,963 feet.
Parks Manager Tim Yeaman said they want to make sure they aren’t interfering with any other recreation activities, like cross-country skiing, or cultural gatherings and conservation efforts.
“We want to be respectful of the area, and to make sure we’re following through on proper protocol,” he explained.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the skills park would be 2,963 square feet. That is the park perimeter, not the square footage. The article has since been corrected.