Prince Albert city council has approved a proposal to allow the Rock N Road Cycling Club to build a new Mountain Bike Skills Park out at Little Red.
Council voted unanimously in favour of the proposal at their Sept. 28 executive committee meeting. Parks Manager Tim Yeaman told council they hope to have the park open next spring.
“We’re very excited,” Yeaman said during the meeting. “I think this will be a great addition to Little Red River Park.
“The Rock N Road Cycling Club are very passionate about this. They see a real need to be able to educate the public in regards to the trail system out there, and for being able to provide additional skills.”
The 460,000 square foot park will sit northwest of the Cosmo Lodge. Rock N Road has suggested a $35 user fee to help pay for park maintenance, but the fee is not included in the operational agreement If implemented, Yeaman said they would not turn away youth who cannot pay the fee.
He added that the park would not interfere with the current trail system, and would use as much natural material as possible in construction.
“The whole idea here is to use the natural landscape of the area and incorporate that into the bike skills park without making too many changes,” Yeaman said. “Then, at the end of all this, if there was a desire to see it turned back into its natural state, it’s simply just removing the items from the location and going on from there.”
City officials have consulted with other park user groups about the project without receiving any negative feedback.
The park may be available for winter use as well, but nothing has been finalized.
“This seems to be a great location,” Yeaman said. “It’s off the trail, but visible from the trail, so there’s safety as well.”
Prince Albert city councillors were impressed by the project, which they called a “fantastic addition” and “a great concept.” However, there were multiple concerns about parking.
Mayor Greg Dionne believes a lack of proper signs are the problem. He said the City needs to do more to let residents know where they can and cannot park.
“We have that huge parking lot (south of Cosmo Lodge) that I don’t think people know is a parking lot,” he said during the meeting. “If we continue to add to the park, there’s going to be a parking issue.”
Beyond that, Yeaman said residents should get used to walking and hiking to visit the new mountain bike park.
“We’re certainly not interested in opening up the upper area to additional parking,” he told council. “We want to keep it as natural as possible and make sure that those who are using it understand the value that’s there. To simply ride your bike to the top or talk to the top, it’s not a far distance.”
Rock N Road Cycling Club brought forward the park proposal in August. Darcy Rusk, the club’s skills park designate, told council at that meeting that they hoped to include an obstacle course, balance training, jump training and drop training zones, and a pump track, which consists of rollers and banked turns.
“Our hope is to integrate it into the park seamlessly,” Rusk said during the August meeting. “We don’t want to disrupt the park itself, or any of the other users.”