The search for the perfect location for Penticton’s first mountain bike skills park has now switched into high gear.
The top choices were presented to the city’s parks and recreation committee during their May meeting, prompting discussion among members about which location would be most suitable and available within a reasonable time frame.
Penticton and Area Cycling Association (PACA) have proposed to build and maintain the site, which would be free for everyone to use. The cost to build the park could be anywhere from $50,000-150,000, according to PACA.
Council supported the idea of a skills park earlier this year, referring the matter to the parks and recreation committee to investigate further.
However, the original location plan at Campbell Mountain has since hit a snag, sending PACA volunteers, city staff and committee members on the hunt for a new site.
Discussions with the province revealed that the process to gain access to the land at Campbell Mountain would be lengthy.
Staff have since been working with PACA to explore different options. One of the locations proposed is the Three Blind Mice trail area. Other ideas included Munson Mountain, the lower grounds of Uplands Elementary school and the Esplanade along Okanagan Lake.
Pat Dowler of PACA pointed out that the park would require at least one acre of land. “In a perfect world, it would be in the 2-3 acre range,” he said.
Committee member Laura Harp commented that the ideal location should be easy to access and suited to all ages. She posed some concerns about the lack of parking at the Three Blind Mice site and also about the popularity of the disc golf course at that location.
“I can see some concerns and conflicts there with trying to squeeze in another high-usage activity,” she said. However, others commented that the location might be the best suited for a bike skills park, given the fact that it’s already an established mountain biking network maintained by PACA.
Committee members requested further information and visual representation of each of the specific sites. It was concluded that staff would bring forward a more detailed report to a future committee meeting for further discussion.