Edmonton's first bike park to be built in the heart of the city

Edmonton is finally getting its own mountain bike park, adding to already established skills areas in the region in Devon and Strathcona County.

The park will offer a dedicated space for Edmontonians to learn and practice mountain biking. It is slated to be built in Queen Elizabeth Park — the onetime site of a wastewater treatment plant — and will sit at the heart of more than 150 kilometres of single-track trails in the city. The Edmonton Mountain Bike Alliance (EMBA) is working to design and build the park through the City of Edmonton's Community Group Led Construction Projects process.

"Skills parks give users a safe and engineered space to progress their skills, no matter their skill level. We are hoping that the park serves as a stepping stone to improving mountain biking in the city as a whole," said Josh Nowochin, a director for EMBA and chair of its bike park committee.

Nowochin added that Edmonton's single-track is a "well-kept secret" and the new bike park could help draw more visitors to the city. But that's still farther in the future — Nowochin told Taproot that they're aiming for it to be complete by the end of 2023.

In the meantime, EMBA is inviting Edmontonians to fill out a survey weighing in on the design, which will be used to determine which skill-building features and new single-track trails will be built. Once that's decided, the association will embark on fundraising for the park, seeking donations, grants and other forms of financial support from various levels of government, businesses, the community, and others.

Devon's Riverview Bike Park

Edmonton's new bike park could offer users a chance to practice their skills on wood features. (Supplied)

The bike park was announced at the end of October, but it has been in the works for years.

EMBA told Taproot that community interest in a bike park, as well as its location and size, were confirmed through a master planning process for Queen Elizabeth Park. City council approved that plan in 2013, but the bike park was never completed due to budget constraints.

Those in the city's mountain bike community reacted positively to last week's announcement, calling it "a step in the right direction" and "very much appreciated."

The survey on the bike park's design is open until Nov. 17.