City groups rally for new moun­tain bike trail

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - LOCAL NEWS - TIMES-JOUR­NAL LAURA BROADLEY

A site next to Water­works Park is be­ing touted as an ideal lo­ca­tion for the city’s first moun­tain bike trail.

Cit­i­zens for Ac­tive Trans­porta­tion and Rail­way City Cy­cling Club sent rep­re­sen­ta­tives Norm Mar­coux and Tony Fangeat to a city coun­cil meet­ing Mon­day to ask for a new moun­tain bik­ing area.

The pro­posed lo­ca­tion is 30 hectares of city-owned prop­erty north of Water­works Park and west of Dale­wood Con­ser­va­tion Area.

“There’s cur­rently some un­de­vel­oped trails that are cur­rently used for both hik­ing and cy­cling in that area,” Fangeat said.

He said he’s walked the area with city staff and they be­lieve it would be a good area for a moun­tain bike trail.

“Th­ese trails bring in both lo­cals as well as vis­i­tors from quite far away,” Fangeat said. “It would be the in­ten­tion that the trails are fun and en­joy­able for all ages, from novice to ad­vanced rid­ers. The area is ac­tu­ally laid out quite well to al­low for both in­ter­me­di­ate and ad­vanced trails.”

Sev­eral peo­ple out­side of the Rail­way City Cy­cling Club have vol­un­teered to help with the project al­ready, Fangeat said.

St. Thomas was des­ig­nated in the spring as a Bi­cy­cle Friendly Com­mu­nity, but it lacks a moun­tain bike trail area, Mar­coux said.

If coun­cil is in favour of the pro­posal, a trail plan com­mit­tee would be de­vel­oped to lead the way.

Mayor Heather Jack­son said she sup­ports the project.

“I think this is great,” she said. “It is some­thing we def­i­nitely need in the com­mu­nity.”

Coun. Mark Tin­lin also said he likes the idea, say­ing that un­less there was an­other pur­pose for the land it would be an ideal place for a moun­tain bike trail.

When asked about ex­penses, Fangeat said the en­tire con­cept would be vol­un­teer driven and ba­si­cally cost-free.

Coun­cil di­rected city staff to work with the group.

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