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A new skills park with pump track to become reality for west coast mountain bikers

Mountain Bike - Stock
Mountain Bike - Stock - 123RF Stock Photo

Mountain bikers on the west coast have some pretty neat trails to manoeuvre on the west coast of the province, but life is about to get better for them.

The West Coast Cycling Association is moving ahead with a plan to build a mountain bike skills venue complete with a pump track in the bowl area of Prince Edward Park on the north shore of the Bay of Islands.

Corner Brook’s Christine Elliott, women’s cycling director for Bicycle Newfoundland and Labrador, is pretty happy about being able to build a venue over the next couple of years.

It will improve life for mountain bikers and give them a great place to have fun and develop their riding skills.

Elliott has learned the value of patience through the process. The cycling association applied for a provincial government grant that would help fund the project and initially an area near the Ginger Route near Crocker’s Road was going to be the venue.

However, Elliott said the decision to find another place came after the group ran into a lot of red tape, forcing it to come up with a new proposal.

A few months ago, she said her group, with the assistance and support of Corner Brook Mayor Jim Parsons, approached the Kinsmen Club of Corner Brook about the possibility of the park being a venue for the group.

A presentation was made to members of the Kinsmen Club and a few months later the not-for-profit group that runs Prince Edward Park gave the go-ahead to having the facility built in the bowl area of the park that was used to stage big concerts for the Hangashore Folk Festival back years ago.

Elliott said the venue will be built with family participation in mind and it will be a progressive build. She figures it will take three or four years to see it come to fruition because similar facilities across Canada, depending on their complexity, have carried a price tag in the $70,000-$80,000 range.

She said the association will do its part to raise funds and seek alternate funding sources to carry out the work and she wants it to be a facility where riders can take ownership and pride in knowing it’s built for them to enjoy.

Elliott believes the sport of mountain biking can only grow from having a great venue for participants to practise and take their sport to another level.

She has been heavily involved in promoting cycling to females across the province in her volunteer role with Bicycle Newfoundland and Labrador, but this new facility will go a long way in piquing the interest of both male and female riders and that’s fine with her.

For the past decade or so, Newfoundland and Labrador hasn’t sent any mountain bike athletes to the Canada Summer Games.

This is something Elliot hopes to help change and she believes a bike skills venue with a pump track will go a long way in grooming riders for competition at a high level.

There are many mountain bike enthusiasts who have checked out skills parks with pump tracks all over Canada and the United States, so they are armed with knowledge and she would like for them to share it.

Anybody with an interest in mountain biking can have their say when Elliott and company host a public meeting Monday 6:30 p.m. at Corner Brook Intermediate to gauge interest and receive input from those with a vested interested in the sport or who are eager to try something new.

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