The City of Yellowknife is set to approve a land lease allowing the Yellowknife Mountain Bike Club to build a pump track and bike skills park next to Bristol Pit.
The club has been working with the city for several years to establish the mountain bike park, which it says will be free and open to the public.
At a meeting on Monday, city councillors supported approving a five-year lease for land near the snowboard park at a cost of $600 per year plus a $10,000 security deposit.
“I am looking forward to being able to see this,” Councillor Steve Payne said of the project. “I know there’s going to be a lot of excited kids in town.”
Councillor Shauna Morgan said mountain biking is “hugely popular” in the community and a bike park could provide a place for people to develop and practise skills before heading out to the rocky hills around Yellowknife. She said a park could benefit visitors and draw more people to live in the city.
“I think it is becoming a bigger and bigger sport here,” she said.
Councillors Cynthia Mufandaedza, Julian Morse, Stacie Smith, and Mayor Rebecca Alty also voiced support for the park.
At a meeting with councillors late last month, Gonzalo Espinosa, president of the Yellowknife Mountain Bike Club, said the club envisions Bristol Pit and the surrounding area becoming a hub for recreational activities and special community events. He noted that more than 150 kids participated in the Mountain Bike Madness summer camp last July.
“This facility has plenty of room to grow,” he said.
The Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN) initially expressed concern about the impact a bike park could have on the nearby Lakeview Cemetery, alongside worries about maintenance and garbage collection at the site.
Following a site visit and discussions with the club, the First Nation wrote a letter in support of the bike park, contingent on “continued care and maintenance of the site, surroundings, and respect for the land.”
“YKDFN is excited to see this recreational development happen and urge all parties to take the required steps to see construction happen in 2021,” the letter states.
The bike club has committed to maintain the site and provide signage and education discouraging “rogue trail-building” outside the park.
The Yellowknives Dene have requested a land acknowledgement plaque at the site and that they be involved in an opening ceremony for the park.
The club plans to begin construction on the pump track – an asphalt loop with features including hills and turns – this summer.
Councillors will officially vote on whether to approve the lease at their next council meeting on June 14.