City councillors who have been pushing for bicycle and skateboard facilities in two parks have received welcome news.
Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, told council’s Aug. 23 meeting that the Jackson Park project in Canoe involved checking out portable ramps for skateboards and bicycles.
He said when the city hosted Roger’s Hometown Hockey, it was provided with a basketball and hockey net that was installed there.
“We have done some research on types of ramps we would like and we’re in a position to actually purchase them,” he said.
The ramps would be situated in the northern half of the hard-surface area. As the space is tight, staff are recommending a banked ramp, a jump box and a wedge-flat wedge with a grind rail.
Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond thanked staff for plowing ahead on the Jackson project and one at Blackburn Park.
“Both will be great additions, especially for our young folks – in Canoe, the sort of tween crowd, nine to 12 or 13. It’s something Canoe has been waiting for for some time. I keep assuring them it’s in the budget and is coming so I too am keen to have it done in 2022 or even before, although that’s unlikely.”
Mayor Alan Harrison thanked her for her advocacy. He said the goal is to have the ramps ordered by mid-October with installation based on availability.
Niewenhuizen also spoke about a bike pump track proposed at Blackburn Park.
He said the pump track project needs a bit more work. First will come a design and then he hopes it can go out to tender and be built in 2022.
He said a safety review has shown that any pump track built between the water park and the skate park should be hard-surfaced, not dirt or gravel. Dirt could lead to tracking that material onto the skate park, which would be a liability for the city.
Coun. Chad Eliason, who has long advocated for the project, said the pump track is long overdue.
“We’ve been saving and budgeting and planning probably for five years on this thing.”
He said his wish list for the 2022 budget is that the track gets designed and built in 2022.
Coun. Kevin Flynn asked if such tracks aren’t usually dirt and wood.
Niewenhuizen said there are two kinds.
“We currently have a pump track in town and it’s located at South Canoe trails; that’s a mountain bike pump track for kids. What we’re looking to do here is – it’s not about a trail pump track, it’s a paved or hard-surfaced pump track for scooters, small children…”
Harrison agreed with Flynn that the track would take some of the scooter and bike pressure off the skate park. Secondly, a whole family can come down, with some using the skate park and some of different ages using the pump track.
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