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Bicycle skills park could be coming to east Guelph

No price tag yet identified for what would be a 2.5-acre dirt facility at Eastview Community Park
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The city is moving ahead with the planning of a bicycle skills facility to compliment the skatepark it opened last year.

The proposed 2.5-acre bike park would be located in the Eastview Community Park off Watson Parkway North. It would be a first for the city.

No timeline has been set and no price tag placed on what the park would cost.

A recommendation going to City Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting on Nov. 8 directs staff to continue the process initiated last December, when council asked staff to look into the possibility.

If approved, next steps include community engagement, hiring of a consultant to design the facility, prepare a risk management plan, identify operational costs and then recommend a budget for approval.

Staff will report back to council at the end of 2018 so that costs can be considered in the 2019 budget.

Eastview Community Park is seen as the best location because it is land the city already owns and has enough room to build the park within the next five years. Locating it elsewhere could take longer.

It also has parking and will soon have washrooms and is close to the off-road trails around Guelph Lake.

“It should be noted that many of the city’s parks are well used and that there were very few locations that have space for a new facility,” the report reads.City staff used data collected when the city relocated the skateboard park form the old Deerpath Drive location to its current spot on Wellington Street

“That staff be directed to engage the community, and plan and design a bicycle skills facility that will be owned and operated by the City of Guelph,” the report reads.

Council had asked staff 11 months ago to prepare an initial report on the possibility of a bicycle skills facility, which is what is being presented on Nov. 8.

The staff report said the need for an off-road bike park is needed to help reduce the number of unauthorized bike parks being created on city and private land and to provide a needed recreational opportunity for youth and young adults.

“There is strong evidence that a bicycle skills facility would be supported in the city of Guelph given the popularity of the newly constructed skateboard park by cyclists and trends in municipal recreation,” says the report, prepared by Luke Jefferson, manager of Open Space Planning, and park planner Tiffany Hanna.

The report notes that bike parks are a “high risk activity where user risk of injury is inherent.”

To that end, a city-owned and operated park was seen as the best way to control overall risk and liability, as opposed to a third party being involved.

A third party could be used to help maintain the trails and jumps on the facility, which would traditionally be made of dirt.

The city plans community input into the facility design and also into changes required to the park’s master plan, which does not currently include a bike park.