Spring is Coming
Winter’s icy grip is starting to loosen a bit, which means that the dirt season is set to arrive in a few weeks! There will be some changes for 2017, both in the park and behind the scenes:
- Thanks to everyone who has offered to help out with the skills park! We are finally in a position where we can put you to work. The plan is to get everybody together in April and let you know what needs to get done this year. This will include a spring cleanup, a few touch-ups to the pump tracks and the establishment of an inspection schedule. The inspections are probably the most important part, as they are a mandatory requirement to allow the skills park to remain open. They’re easy to do, but they cannot be skipped.
- You may have noticed that some parts of the intermediate pump track are difficult to get into, and it’s very challenging to do more than one lap without getting out at the start mound. It turns out that a pair of berms were built 90 degrees out of position. It wasn’t obvious at first, but after a couple of weeks of people riding, we figured it out. The CMBA will be fixing that part of the track in April. We’ll have to close that pump track for a couple of days while we work, but we’re going to try and do it during the week so it can be ready for the weekend crowds.
- A very big behind-the-scenes change is that the CMBA will be signing a lease agreement with Alberta Parks for the skills park site. This shifts most of the liability for the skills park from the province to the CMBA. With that greater responsibility comes greater control over the features in the skills park. We’ll still need to have the provincial government approve major changes, but dirt jump lines are now a possibility.
- Many people have asked if there will be any skills coaching/instructing happening at the skills park. The answer is yes – although there are a few hoops to jump through because it’s in a provincial park. Anyone interested in providing commercial coaching/instruction will have to meet some provincial permit requirements:
- Minimum of $2,000,000 in general liability insurance with Parks named as a certificate holder
- First aid training
- Maximum of 6 students per instructor [not confirmed yet]
- Permit fees paid and permit application approved before operating in the park
Anyone offering coaching/instruction for FREE does not have to get a permit. Parks is aware of people trying to dodge the permit process by asking for “donations” or “tips” in return for coaching, and are looking to discourage that practice. The CMBA wants to support legitimate commercial operators, and will be posting the names of permitted operators on this website.
City of Calgary
The CMBA has been working with the City of Calgary since last fall to find other sites in Calgary for bike skills parks. Things went well, and there are two potential sites in play – one in the SW and one in the NE. No paperwork has been signed, but things are looking good. It will still take a while to get shovels in the ground, so we’re hoping for a fall 2018 / spring 2019 opening for one of the parks, with the other to follow later. Yeah, that does seem like a long time, but don’t forget that the CMBA started talking with the City about skills parks in 2002. The wheels of government can sometimes turn slowly…