City's cycling community takes victory lap after approval of velodrome for Coronation Park

·2 min read
Construction on the future Coronation Community Recreation Centre is expected to begin in 2021.  (HCMA/Dub Architects - image credit)
Construction on the future Coronation Community Recreation Centre is expected to begin in 2021. (HCMA/Dub Architects - image credit)

After a decade of peddling, Edmonton's cycling community is taking a victory lap after city council agreed to add a $46 million velodrome to the proposed Coronation Community Recreation Centre.

The $153-million rec centre, located in the Woodcroft neighbourhood, will now include an indoor cycling track fit for international competitions, after council approved the additional funding on Dec. 14.

Dave Embury, secretary treasurer of the Argyll Velodrome Association, told CBC's Edmonton AM that the new facility will be groundbreaking for athletes in the city.

"Our little outdoor facility has created two gold medallists. And just imagine forward how much more we can do with an indoor, 365-[days]-a-year facility," Embury said Monday. "It's unlimited."

The outdoor facility in Argyll Park in southeast Edmonton was nearing the end of its life back in 2004, he said.

The group has been working with the city ever since to find a new home for the facility.

"Otherwise, we would have lost it," Embury said.

The association scoured the city for sites, landing on an ideal match at Coronation Park in 2012.

The original plan went before council in 2014 but was put on hold due to an economic downturn. In 2016, city council agreed to pay for a design of the facility.

Erin Rutherford, councillor for Ward Anirniq, told CBC that spending on a recreation facility should not be seen as frivolous even in the current economic climate.

"I want to be clear that, to me, one of the reasons that I support this specific project is because I see there is both an economic and social benefit," she said on Dec. 14.

The outdoor facility hosts 2,500 school kids in programs which run in May, June and September. The new velodrome will accommodate around 7,000 to 10,000 students in school and youth programs, Embury said.

"This is just special," he said. "It's a very good thing."

The Coronation recreation centre will also include childcare, a fitness centre, a pool and a running track.

"It'll now be a swim-bike-run facility and so the triathlon organization, our partners, will also have a home," Embury said.

Because it will be a Category 2 facility, it will be able to host the Commonwealth Games and World Championships, he said.

"We're going to have everything."

The Argyll Velodrome Association has committed to $4 million to the project which Embury hopes will be operational in 2025.

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