Blackfalds should have an entirely new recreational service available this winter.
At a regular meeting of council on June 10th, Blackfalds Town council voted unanimously in favour to enter into an agreement with and approve the Riders Rush Cable Park at All Star Park.
Community Services Director Sean Barnes said that he was excited to see someone in the community willing to offer a new recreational service.
“I think this is an economic spinoff for the community,” said Barnes. “I think something like this in the winter months is going to set us on the map again for something that is unique in our community.”
Blackfalds resident Sam Kiat is the driving force behind the Riders Rush Cable Park.
He said he chose Blackfalds for this project because it is a family-oriented community whose mission statement fits well with his own vision.
Kiat added that he felt as though Blackfalds is growing fast, making a need for more recreational facilities than what the community currently has to offer.
Riders Rush will be a cable driven terrain park for skiers and snowboarders. It will be the first of its kind in Alberta and only the 10th in Canada (currently there is one park in British Columbia, one in Nova Scotia, one in Manitoba and six in Ontario).
Kiat said the park would provide an alternative to mountain skiing and snowboarding that would keep people in the community for their recreational activities.
The park will consist of a terrain course built along an oblong track. Riders will be pulled along the track through a cable and pulley system. That system would consist of two winch towers at either end of the park connected by cables.
Two riders will be able to use the track at one time and the cable speed can be adjusted to the skill level of the riders.
Kiat mentioned that even with two users at once, the facility is quite safe as riders cannot collide with one another or otherwise get in one another’s way as can be possible on a ski hill.
Each of the towers will be anchored to large, concrete weights.
All of the equipment for the park is also portable, so after the season is done and the snow is gone, the equipment is gone too, said Kiat.
It would take between two and three days to set up all the equipment for the park.
Because the Riders Rush would only operate during the winter, and All Star Park is currently only utilized in the spring, summer and fall months, Kiat thought it would be a perfect location for the facility.
However, some logistics still need to be figured out. Kiat said washroom facilities need to be obtained as the ones in the All Star Park kiosk are not winterized and a water supply may be required for making snow when temperatures are below freezing but there is no natural snow for the park.
Kiat said that Riders Rush would offer programming and discounted rates for youth groups. He also said that schools in the area could also utilize the park, perhaps as part of a physical education program, if they so desired. However, any users of the park would have to provide their own equipment as no rental equipment would be available at the park.
Additional services, like toboggan rides, may also be available at the park. Kiat said these would probably be limited to GT type toboggans though as they have a steering ability other sleds lack.
Councillor Will Taylor was very supportive of the idea of the park, but expressed concern that the need for expansion due to increased use of the facility would grow behind the capacities of All Star Park quite quickly.
Kiat mentioned that there is actually space to put two cable tracks in the All Star Park if expansion is necessary.