Connor Burns tackles a feature during a bike camp held in Yellowknife. Photo: Ben McGregor
Yellowknife Rotary Club is putting $50,000 behind plans to build a bike park in the city, saying the facility will make a big difference to the community.
Yellowknife’s mountain bike club hopes to begin building the park next spring and have something ready for residents to try by the summer of 2019.
The club says the park will be freely accessible to people of all ages and skill levels.
“We’re looking to really get the wheels turning on this bike park,” said Yanik D’Aigle from the Rotary Club of Yellowknife.
“Part of the park’s allure is, first, we have experience in Yellowknife – we built the Frame Lake Trail and the Rotary Park down by the waterfront.
“Accessibility to all is part of what this park is about. It’s not only kids, it’s kids of all ages, and all levels of skills – newcomers and expert riders. Hopefully we leverage this park for competitions in future, not only in Canada but international.”
The bike park has already received more than $100,000 in funding, including up to $25,000 in support from the City of Yellowknife and a $25,000 grant from the territorial government’s Department of Industry, Tourism, and Investment.
Creating the park is estimated to cost in the range of $500,000, though the mountain bike club hopes to secure much of this through in-kind donations.
The finished product, based near Bristol Pit on Yellowknife’s Old Airport Road, will be a bike skills park combining natural and man-made features designed to replicate elements of mountain bike trails.
The bike club’s website states those features include wooden ladder bridges, rock-gardens, jumps, rollers and drops.
“This is going to make a fair bit of difference,” club president Geoff Foster said of the Rotary Club’s donation.
“More important is just having the Rotary Club sign on as a partner. That almost means more to us than the money. They have a lot of history in Yellowknife and, nationally and internationally, Rotary has built a lot of bike parks.
“It’s an outstanding track record they have. Having them as a partner is a really meaningful contribution to our project. That actually means more than the money – but the money is pretty sweet.”
Thomas de Bastiani, the bike club’s vice-president, said the club hopes to have a builder assess the site this fall before breaking ground in the spring.
“It’s likely to be a multi-year project,” he said. “We’ve got a dream park in mind but it might be rolled out in a phased approach, depending on who else wants to jump on board.
“Hopefully in the next couple of years we’ll have a big, shiny park out there.”