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New bicycle course increases park usage

Black Diamond’s newest recreation attraction is gaining momentum as residents and visitors alike test their cycling prowess on a new bike course beside the arena.

Black Diamond’s newest recreation attraction is gaining momentum as residents and visitors alike test their cycling prowess on a new bike course beside the arena.

Since the pump track opened for use in the Erma Joy Brown Park next to the Oilfields Regional Arena at the beginning of the summer, use at the park has almost tripled, according to Les Quinton, parks and recreation manager.

“It’s bringing more people to the location,” Quinton said. “There are kids out there every day. We had about 50 kids use it yesterday.”

Erma Joy Brown Park also features outdoor fitness equipment, a skate park, a temporary tennis court in the outdoor rink and a walking trail that was completed earlier this summer. The pump track is smaller than a BMX track and challenges cyclists to use momentum to manoeuvre through a series of hills.

Quinton said it is gaining a lot of attention, particularly among younger teenagers.

Dave Leonard, of British Columbia, tried out the track last weekend while visiting relatives in Black Diamond.

“When I saw the pump track I thought that’s pretty cool,” he said, adding he’s camping at the Bob Lochhead Memorial Campground. “We never had anything like this when I was a kid. I love it.”

Nine-year-old Aiden Smith has ridden his bike on the pump track several times already this summer.

“There’s a lot of uphills and downhills,” he said. “You get a lot of speed. My favourite thing about it is probably the uphills. You can use them as a ramp to jump off.”

Smith’s mother Jessica said the pump track is a great addition to the community,

“It’s more physical activity for the kids,” she said. “The kids like it.”

Quinton said the 558-metre paved pathway that was built through the park earlier this summer, connecting existing trails at the campground and Riverwood subdivision, has also increased usage of the site, particularly for those who didn’t know Black Diamond has a pump track, skateboard park and outdoor fitness park.

“I think it’s just made more people aware,” he said. “People will come for a walk and stop and use the fitness park. The kids using the pump track are coming down the pathway and we’ve had a few skateboarders even come down the pathway.”

More recreational opportunities could be in the future for Erma Joy Brown Park including an amphitheatre, basketball courts, small soccer field and outdoor walking track, as well as a parking lot on the east side of the curling rink, said Quinton.

“We want to have multiple things for people to be able to do on the site,” he said. “We are trying to promote fitness and well-being in the community. That’s ultimately to me what it’s all about is getting people active and participating and when they’re participating they get healthier.”

The highest priorities are a basketball court and walking track, said Quinton.

“In the next three to five years we hope to get some funding for the basketball courts,” he said. “That might be a joint project with the school division to be used by the high school.”

Whether or not these ideas come to fruition will depend on various factors including upcoming budgets, the economy and this fall’s election, Quinton said.

“Some councillors have different priorities,” he said. “Some of them like to put money towards other items. I can’t say how far things will go at this time.”




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Tammy Rollie

About the Author: Tammy Rollie

Tammy Rollie is a staff reporter at OkotoksToday.ca and the Western Wheel newspaper, focusing on Wheel's West, local arts and culture and entertainment. For story tips contact trollie@okotoks.greatwest.ca
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