A new Bike Skills Park could be coming to Lacombe after a group of community members made a presentation to Lacombe Council.
The group is hoping to building a bike skills park consisting of three trails and multiple skill levels behind where the Lacombe Chamber of Commerce is currently located.
The group is headed by Reds Sports’ Don Derowin and community member Corey Gish, who were joined by 17-year-old bike skills Lacombe athletes Carter Vanhoeven and Jaden Etson.
Derowin said the idea came after customers at Reds inquired about the old bike skills park, which is out-of-the-way and has gone to disrepair.
“The kids are over there trying to make it themselves and there is kids digging behind the university on private land,” he said. “We thought it would be a good idea to see if there was interest from our customers coming in.
“Corey is one of our customers and she said, ‘Heck yeah. That is a good idea’.”
The group is hoping the park would compliment the one created in Blackfalds and pegged a preliminary budget at about $422,000. Gish said the group intends to do all of their own fundraising and is only looking for the land and support from council. She added they intend to provide much of their own labour and hopes the community can support the project with donations of time and material.
“We hope it can be a project that is a little bit like building a barn in the old days rather than something we are hiring people to do. We are just asking for the land from the city. We fully expect to look to the community to help us build this,” she said.
With approval from the city, the group will then work to provide a more solid financial plan for the project and Gish hopes they can get shovels in the ground in Spring 2020.
“It is aggressive to think we could get it done by this summer but I also don’t think it is unrealistic,” she said, adding the group intends to use the existing topography and intends to respect the natural environment of the area.
“We don’t plan to do anything particularly invasive,” she said.
Etson, 17, said it will be huge for athletes not having to drive to Blackfalds.
“You can bike from your house and go straight to the new trails. I think that is awesome,” he said. “We want to spend all day out there and having it in town would be a really good asset for after school and after work.”
He added he and other athletes look forward to helping with the labour of the project.
I know multiple people including myself who would be going out there everyday to create these dirt jumps. Building dirt jumps is almost just as fun as riding them.
Carter Verhoeven, 17,
If it was located in Lacombe, we could go straight from school.
Grant Creasey, mayor of Lacombe, said he was impressed with the initial presentation for the project.
”I have always been a proponent of these types of recreational opportunities for the city. I think they provide good value and they also provide some excellent flexibility for our residents,” he said. “As you can tell from my vote, I was in favour of it and I look forward to seeing the process continue further.”
Creasey said the initiative shows the creativity of Lacombe residents.
“I think that speaks highly of the volunteers we have in the city of Lacombe,” he said.
He added the group is working methodically on this project and looks forward to what they bring to council next.