June 3rd, 2020 ~ Vol. 90 No. 22
UROC Kid’s Bike Park to Move Ahead
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Source: uroc.ca
David Selles
Pass Herald Reporter
Council voted unanimously to approve the Kid’s Corner UROC Mountain Bike Trail in Blairmore during their meeting on Tuesday May, 26th.

The process for the creation of this park began on December 17, 2019 when UROC presented the plan to Council.

Council approved the project in early 2020 after which information packages were prepared for the residents in the area.

One local resident says they weren’t pleased with information was given to them after Council had approved the project.

“It was an afterthought I think to even have the residents involved in the process. We were never involved in the process in the beginning. At any time, something is proposed where it affects a neighbourhood or citizen, it should be brought to their attention first. My belief is that the Councillors made the decision for the Bike Park back in December and they weren't about to change it.”

After the project information packages were delivered to residences within the location of the trail plan, Council received responses from concerned residents in this area.

The next time the plan was presented to council was at a meeting on April 7th.

At that meeting, Council directed Administration to review this project and meet with all concerned residents and provide feedback to Council for reconsideration of this project.
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During that time period, UROC met with the municipality as well as local residents to hear their concerns.

Administration/Council received 8 letters of concern. Administration, along with a UROC member, met with each resident on site, to address their concerns.

UROC also provided answers to any questions they had during this meeting. The following is a list of residents' concerns:

1. Privacy - the trail overlooks properties and residents are concerned users can view their backyards.

2. Noise - this area is generally quiet, and residents believe this trail for kids will bring excessive noise.

3. Animals - residents were concerned that this trail could result in encounters between youth and wildlife or impede wildlife movement.

4. Human waste and more garbage - residents were concerned this property has the potential to turn into a public bathroom area or have more litter.

5. Trespassing onto private property - bikers may go off the trail and trespass onto private property.

6. Kids leaving the trail and accessing the creek.

7. Do not want it at all, move it somewhere else.

7. Bike trails - residents felt there are enough bike trails.

9. Tree removal - canopy could be opened and possibly create berry growth that would attract wildlife.

The local resident also says safety was a big factor.
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“We were arguing for safety of the kids and that there were alternate locations that could have been way better suited for a kid's bike park than what we ended up with.”

Following the meeting with residents and listening to their questions and concerns, UROC responded with the following:

1. Privacy - UROC has agreed with this concern, as the most North Easterly trail marked KC4 could in fact pose a privacy issue. UROC has decided to delete this section of trail and stay further back on the next ridge. Moving this trail alleviates this privacy concern, as distance and area vegetation would provide a good barrier. Administration would like to also note an existing trail used by the public is already in use in this area and in fact, is much closer to some residents' houses in the cul-de-sac. In questioning residents along this trail, Administration was advised it has been in place for a long time.

2. Noise - Although this is a bike trail and anyone can use it, UROC has designed this for children between the ages of 6-12 who are riding bikes. Since the design is for use as a single lane bike trail, UROC is unclear as to how much noise would be generated. Moving this trail further up the hill to the second rise will provide a better sound barrier to the residences. As noted earlier, there is an existing trail system that already runs through this area. Foot traffic will generally prefer the more direct route offered by the existing walking trail. Because the biking trail will be designed for younger children, the grades will be low and consequently the trail will be more meandering with small features built into it.
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3. Animals - The presence of wildlife is apparent throughout the Municipality and the likelihood of human/wildlife encounters are always possible on any trail or park system and this area is not unique. Signage and ensuring the removal of attractants, such as berry growth or garbage, should minimize potential encounters.

4. Human Waste - Residents have concerns of human waste on this trail, however, the Youth Trail has not been developed to date and there is already evidence of human waste noted in the area. This is 44 one of the reasons for the location of the Youth Trail in the area, as UROC does supply a chemical toilet at the Skills Park, which is in close proximity to the trail.

5. Trespassing -The natural features of this area limits the possibility of trespassing by kids on bikes, due to a steep slope full of trees, to even access private property.

6. Kids going to the creek - This is possible by foot access, however, the design of this area and its location - would more likely result in the kids accessing the creek through 131 street to the walking trail behind the houses.

7. Do not want it at all - Half of the concerned residents have commented they do not want this trail in their area at all, regardless of UROC's variations to the trail plan.

8. Enough bike trails - This is an invalid statement, as UROC has been approached by parents, clubs and organizations requesting UROC to build a separate area away from the more advanced trails, for riders of younger ages.
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9. Tree removal - UROC only requires a 2-foot trail, with no hazards on either side of the trail that could affect the rider's safety. UROC understands the importance of the canopy, which would result in minimal tree removal. The machine to build this is a micro/mini excavator and is typically 3 feet wide. Initially it will look wider because the material is usually distributed on the low side of the trail and a back-slope is cut on the uphill side. After a year or two of regrowth, the trail will look about 2 feet wide. The existing small loop in the same area provides an example.

Administration was also requested to contact John Clark, as he had concerns of a trail in this area. His concerns are to ensure attractants are kept to a minimum to avoid human interactions with wildlife.

As mentioned above, these trails are maintained by UROC.

As provided above, and as a result of listening to the residents' concerns, UROC has now moved this trail up the hill from the first rise to the second rise, which leaves plenty of space and vegetation between residences and trail users.

UROC has responded to each letter of concern and has answered all questions relative to the trail.

The plan for the park was then brought back to council during their April 21st, meeting as information.

On April 24th, UROC and the Municipality delivered an updated map to each resident. This package had an updated map excluding the Northeast trail closest to the public and asked each resident to provide input by May 1st, 2020.

The next meeting the plan was brought to was on May 5th.

A day prior to that meeting, Councillor Sygutek reached out to Ratzlaff Danielson Law Office, to see if she had a pecuniary interest as a Councillor.

During the meeting on May 5th, Council moved that the Kids' Corner UROC Mountain Bike Trail Proposal be deferred to the May 12, 2020 Meeting of Council in order to obtain a legal opinion as to the establishment of a pecuniary interest.

Councillor Sygutek had yet to receive the necessary information by May 12th, which caused Council to move that the Kids' Corner UROC Mountain Bike Trail Proposal be deferred to the May 26, 2020 Meeting of Council in order to obtain a legal opinion as to the establishment of a pecuniary interest.

Councillor Sygutek received the necessary information by the May 26th, meeting, allowing Council to move forward and vote on the plan.

Each member of council spoke on his or her reasoning to approve the project.

The overall sentiment regarding the project is that there weren’t enough reasons for any member to vote against the building of this bike park.

Many of the council members also said they understood and respected the concerns of residents but added the changes UROC proposed after hearing concerns from residents were sufficient to moving this project towards completion.
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June 3rd, 2020 ~ Vol. 90 No. 22
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