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City sets new north bike park location in stone

Grande Prairie’s north bike skills park is set to be built in Crystal Lake. City Council approved the project during the September 22nd meeting but had yet to decide on a final location to place the development.

The need for a new park was identified after observing the popularity of Grande Prairie’s first bike skills park at South Bear Creek, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Crystal Lake site was one of two proposed locations, both in that immediate area. Transportation and Parks Manager Robert Carroll says there were several deciding factors in choosing the now designated site over the alternative.

“The site we chose was the site that is a little more visible to the public, and we all know the more visible it is the more safe people feel being there,” he says.

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The site connects directly to existing bike trails, which make for ease of access, and Carroll adds the impact to the immediate environment is minimal.

The alternative site is noted by the city to be home to the only infestation of the noxious weed leafy spurge in Grande Prairie, which would require care not to spread the weed beyond the site. The site has also been utilized by local indigenous communities for traditional plant foraging for smudging ceremonies, which would have been disturbed, as well as destroying a portion of the native tree stand left in Crystal Lake Park.

Carroll says the city will provide 20 per cent of the total cost of the project from 2021 capital taxes. The rest of the funding will be covered through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program COVID-19 Resilience Stream.

The COVID-19 stimulus funding, he adds, was a huge help in getting the project moving forward.

“It wasn’t really one of those projects we planned on building in the next couple of years, it was further on down the road.”

“The criteria behind the funding is it has to be spent by the end of 2021, so we looked at a lot of the projects we had coming down the pipe, and this was one we knew we could build by the end of 2021,” he says.

The project is expected to cost a total of roughly $300,000 and must be completed before the end of 2021.

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