The City of Grande Prairie welcomed people to the new Crystal Lake Bike Skills Park with a celebration, including a ribbon cutting. Mayor Jackie Clayton and other city officials were on hand along with a heavy amount of youth using the new outdoor amenity.
Transportation and Parks Manager Robert Carroll is just one of many people who have worked to bring this project to life.
“It’s exciting for us to be here and celebrate this occasion with the community. There were a number of people who worked on this project in the transportation department and also engineering. It’s great to see that people are out here, enjoying it and having a good time,” he says.
The new $300,000 park has seen steady traffic since it first opened in the last week of June. Around 40 or 50 people were using it during the grand opening ceremony.
“That’s great to see. It was a facility that was lacking in this area. We have the South Bear Creek Park Bike Skills Park but there’s a pile of kids in this area,” says Carroll. “To have a gathering place in this area where kids can come out and get some exercise and develop their skills, it’s perfect for that. Everybody seems to be enjoying it.”
The idea was first backed by Grande Prairie City Council in 2020. Designing and building the park involved a lot of feedback from the community.
“When we first found out that we would be getting some additional funding from the federal government, we started to look at what areas would work best for the park, I believe it was as many as seven sites we considered. We did some public consultation and people had an opportunity to pick their favourite site and in the end, this was it,” he says.
The park was built by a British Columbia company and is also a little more environmentally friendly than most projects.
“We decided to look outside the province in terms of creating the design. We also built the park with recycled materials. These are leftovers from some of our capital projects in the city. Instead of finding a disposal site, we built a park with them,” he adds.
The park is open and free for anyone to use as long as they’re bringing a regular bicycle. It features a pump track, various jumps, and the highest point in the city. Motorized bikes are not allowed. It is located at Lakeland Drive and 121 Avenue near Crystal Lake Park.