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Oshawa is getting a bike park

By Courtney Bachar/The Oshawa Express/LJI Reporter

Oshawa will be getting a bike park in the city’s north end by the end of the summer.

Oshawa City Council approved the $100,000 capital project for the construction of the Phase 1 bike park facility at its most recent meeting. The project will be funded through the Parks and Recreation Facilities Reserve.

While the majority of council endorsed the project, Councillor Jane Hurst says building this recreational facility is “a reward for bad behaviour.”

“I think that $100,000 should go towards improving the parks for our children and other parents and grandparents that have been anxiously awaiting improvements in their local parks, which affects thousands of people here,” she says, “as opposed to facilitating the introduction of a BMX facility in response to the illegal site that was already imposed on city property without our consultation or our authority.”

However, Councillor Rick Kerr says this facility is long overdue.

He notes there are 97 other parks in the city, including parkettes, for children, as well as dozens of sports fields.

“I’m really happy to see that,” he says. “But right now we have nothing for cyclists,” noting a petition that came forward previously to council to try and save the unsanctioned bike park that currently exists in north Oshawa.

“Even if all the people who signed the petition don’t in fact come from Oshawa, thousands of them do and there’s nothing for them.”

Kerr says he is happy to see a plan that gets a bike park in the city before the end of the year.

“We are going to have, in my view, when all the stages are built, an absolute gem of a cycling park as well as a community park that will be another way to put Oshawa on the map,” he says. “This is going to be terrific when it comes forward.”

Councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri says this facility will fit very well in the area.

“We’ve considered the legal and financial implications and also the overall benefit to the wellbeing of the area and when you look at it from that standpoint, it’s a solution to a very good problem, which is people trying to stay active and recreate in our community and phase it in as a community park,” he says. “I think the alternative where you would consider higher density housing or an invasive form of industrial development, this fits very well in the area.”

According to a city report, the Phase 1 bike park facility is estimated to be up and running by September 2021.

“The Phase 1 facility will consist of a dirt track and riding features of which elements will be considered during the permanent bike park design process,” the report reads.

In order to mitigate potential delays, the report states the Phase 1 area needs to be located outside of the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (C.L.O.C.A.) regulated area so as not to require a permit and additional studies such as an environmental impact assessment.

Based on the available space, the Phase 1 facility would be no larger than 0.5 hectares.

According to the report, a facility of this size “will not provide the same diverse riding experiences, complexity or address the need for multi-skill levels,” which the city says may be a barrier to attracting some of the existing users.

“However, it is a phased approach that may appeal to some of the existing users,” the report continues.

The preliminary master plan of the community park is expected to be completed by May 2021 and will include the conceptual design of the Phase 1 bike park facility.

The report also states that the current unsanctioned bike park will be decommissioned and the area restored back to its natural state at a cost of approximately $20,000.