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Council moves step closer to creating bike pump track in Yorkton

Location park land behind Columbia School
The pump bike track proposal will be looked at in 2022 budget deliberations.
YORKTON - Yorkton Council approved a recommendation at its regular meeting Monday which could see a new Pump Bike Park Development move forward. 

The actual recommendation which received unanimous support stated “a park be developed in the BMX Park located behind Columbia School that would see two basketball courts along with a pump bike park, replacing the existing BMX track. Further, that a parking area be established for the park and lights be considered for all amenities as funding becomes available. Further, that the pump bike park and parking area be referred to budget discussions.” 

The recommendation came out of a report to Council by Darcy McLeod – Director of Recreation & Community Services, with the City. 

The report was to provide information related to the review of park development to house a pump bike park and possibly the recently approved basketball court(s), as a result of Council’s direction related to a pump bike park proposal at their March 26, 2021, said McLeod. 

“Outdoor basketball courts have been approved in the capital budget, however locations have been difficult to determine given the space requirement and trying to balance man-made structures with provision of natural spaces in existing parks,” noted the report. 

“A request for a pump bike park has also been submitted to Council who then asked Administration to review possible locations for consideration. Other outdoor activities have become popular in recent years, especially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore increased focus has been placed on enhancing outdoor recreation opportunities. Although the City has an abundance of parks and green spaces, not all green spaces are appropriate for all uses. Therefore, a review of existing park spaces was conducted to assist with determining possible locations for consideration of new amenities.” 

In terms of the pump bike park “the delegation that requested Council consideration of a pump bike park provided three examples of spaces where a pump bike park could be located. All three locations are in the north east area of the City that has numerous park amenities in a relatively small area. The first location was Heritage Heights Park, which already has multiple man-made recreation infrastructure including a lighted outdoor rink and multi-purpose hard court, lighted tennis courts, a play structure as well as a baseball backstop. This park also houses a large green space that allows free play to occur or a quiet place to enjoy the outdoors. This area of the City is currently well-serviced from a park amenity perspective,” detailed McLeod. 

“The second location was Weinmaster Park, which also has a number of man-made outdoor recreation infrastructure. This includes a lighted outdoor rink and multi-purpose hard court with basketball nets, a spray park and an accessible play structure. 

“The third location was in an outdoor space adjacent to the Gloria Hayden Community Centre. This is a small green area with no other amenities other than a parking lot, which is close to the street that could also be used to support parking. Although this is a grassed area, it really isn’t considered a park. Further, adding features to this space would further increase the outdoor recreation amenities in an area of the City that is already well-serviced.” 

An alternate location was also looked at, said McLeod. 

“One area not referenced in the existing park inventory is the space behind Columbia school where a small dirt BMX track is in place. This space has not seen any development and receives minimal maintenance, and therefore it is sometimes forgotten that it is zoned as Parks and Recreation land as per the Municipal Zoning Bylaw No. 14/2003,” he said. 

This space is currently under-utilized and offers an option to further develop outdoor recreation amenities in an area of the City that is currently under-serviced from a parks and recreation perspective. People in this area have minimal access to parks and recreation services (as defined above and indicated in the attached Park Amenity Location Map) and would be required to use alternate modes of transportation to access most parks and recreation amenities in other neighborhoods, said McLeod. 

“Creating a park space in this area would increase resident’s connection to their community and each other. Creating community connections in a neighborhood leads to a safer neighborhood no matter which neighborhood is being discussed. More people visiting a space lessens the likelihood of negative activity,” said McLeod. 

“Further, the pump bike track and/or basketball courts will be amenities that will attract people from across the City, therefore parking should also be considered when planning for these amenities. The space behind Columbia School could accommodate parking to support these amenities as the back lanes are already used to service parking for the apartment buildings located there. A small parking lot could be provided as part of this development.” 

Money has been allocated for the basketball courts, but not the pump track. 

“Currently, the City of Yorkton has allocated $100,000 toward the construction of basketball courts in their 2021 capital budget. The funding required for a pump bike park would be required before proceeding,” said McLeod. 

“If there is a desire to provide this amenity, the pump bike park could be referred to the 2022/23 capital budget discussions of Council.”