Canal Flats bike park nears completion

After two years of planning, the Canal Flats bike park nears completion with just the final touches waiting to be added.

The Canal Flats Community Society’s request to reallocate unused funds from its ballpark fencing realignment project to the Bike Park Project was granted at the most recent Regional District of East Kootenay board meeting and is moving forward.

Amber Byklum, secretary for the Canal Flats Community Society, started working on creating a bike park in the Canal Flats area by herself two years ago before joining forces with the Community Society and consulting with the Village about where the best location would be for a new bike park. In the end, they decided the best location would be behind the arena near the centre of town.

The Community Society had applied for a pair of grants through the Columbia Basin Trust, to complete the ballpark fencing realignment and to fund the creation of a bike pump track, that amounted to $8,000 in total. After completing the ballpark fencing realignment, the society has $2,700 remaining that can now be spent on the bike park for bearproof garbage disposals at the park, said Tina Hlushak, deputy corporate officer for the RDEK.

The park is similar to the bike park at Mount Nelson Athletic Park in Invermere, said Byklum, but is on a much larger scale.

“There are some fairly significant ramps and turns that give a lot of good air,” she said. “We had a couple of older bikers between the ages of 25 and 30 who helped us design and create those jumps within the track.”

She said they have recently completed adding the proper signage to the area and adding benches after having to re-dig the area to add a water supply for a fountain and for spraying down the track.

Byklum said this project is the first step of many in introducing larger developments in the Canal Flats area that promote outdoor activity.

“It’s definitely not a community that enjoys indoor organized activities,” Byklum said. “(The bike park) definitely has an outdoor aspect to it and somewhere they can just go and hang out and be together as opposed to the organized structure aspect.”

One of the things she envisions as an addition to the bike park for the community would be a skate park or multi-purpose court where youth could get out and enjoy the outdoors doing various sporting activities.

“I think that’s one struggle that the community has always had, is lack of infrastructure for youth in the town,” she said.

The Community Society plans to continue pursuing grants so that they are able to create more projects like the bike park in the near future.

For now, she said, the bike park is open to the public to enjoy before the winter season makes its way to the Columbia Valley.

“We wanted to kind of see how this project would go forward and I think that it’s been very well-received and it’s been very busy there this summer so it’s good to see,” she Byklum.