Edmonton velodrome rolls ahead
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  Posted October 12th, 2012 by Zdenko  in Cycling, Edmonton | One comment

Edmonton cycling

Source: Edmonton Journal, By Gordon Kent

$8.5M for velodrome design recommended by city committee
Edmonton could become the first Canadian city with an international-caliber indoor velodrome, after a council committee recommended spending $8.5 million to design the project.

Edmonton cyclists ride on Argyll velodrome in Edmonton

The facility, intended to replace the crumbling outdoor Argyll velodrome, would be part of a $97-million Coronation Park recreation centre that would also include a jogging track, fitness centre and link to Peter Hemingway pool.

“This is a project that I’m really passionate about. It’s really important to see it done,” said Tara Whitten, an Edmonton member of the bronze-medal winning women’s pursuit team at the London Olympics.

“I just know the impact it can have on the community, from young kids to elite athletes and families.”

Whitten has had to do much of her training in Los Angeles, which has North America’s only 250-metre indoor cycling track built to world competitive standards. She and other Canadian racers would love to be able to train in Edmonton, she said.

Edward Ilnicki at the Argyll Velodrome in 2009. Photograph by: Greg Southam, Edmonton Journal , Edmonton Journal

The facility might also attract competitors from other countries, particularly triathletes, because nowhere else in North America has indoor cycling, swimming and running, said David Embury of the Argyll Velodrome Association.

His group has been working for six years to develop a covered velodrome. They’ve been looking for a location since plans to build it on the site of the current structure beside the Mill Creek ravine were derailed by a 2009 court decision over the zoning process.

Argyll velodrome

The Argyll Velodrome, located in south-central Edmonton, was constructed in 1977 by the City of Edmonton as a primary site for competitive cycling during the 1978 Commonwealth Games. This velodrome is one of about twenty-five velodrome tracks in North America. In Canada there are eight tracks; Dieppe New Brunswick, University of Laval, Laval Quebec, Bromont Quebec, Calgary Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Burnaby British Columbia, Victoria British Columbia and London, Ontario. Edmonton, Burnaby, Victoria, Calgary and Bromont are sanctioned for some International events. The Argyll Velodrome is a 333 1/3 meter x 7 meter wide, 33 degree banked concrete surfaced track situated in the beautiful Edmonton river valley Argyll Park. The facility is equal to any equivalent cycling facility in the world.

Racing on Argyll velodrome

Alan Schietzsch, of the Woodcroft Community League, beside Coronation Park, said they’re happy to see the recreation centre go ahead as long as the aging Coronation arena is torn down to save green space and solve traffic issues.

“We’re thrilled. For our community to host a world-class facility would be absolutely awesome,” he said.

“The kids in our community, if they’re riding bikes and staying safe in winter, we like that.”

Councillors must still pass the design spending during this fall’s budget debates.

The velodrome association and the Edmonton Triathlon Academy have agreed to raise about $25 million for the project, which likely won’t start construction if the rest of the budget is approved until at least 2015.

Olympic bronze medallist Tara Whitten said that a new indoor velodrome would allow her to train in Edmonton. (CBC)

A plan to build an indoor velodrome in Edmonton moved one step closer on Tuesday after a council committee passed a recommendation to spend $8.5 million on design work. The velodrome would be included in the first phase of the Coronation Recreational Facility at 111th Avenue and 142nd Street.

Tara Whitten, the Edmonton cyclist who won bronze last summer as a member of the women’s Olympic pursuit team, spoke in favor of the proposal at Tuesday’s committee meeting. She later told reporters that a world-class track would allow her and other Canadian track cyclists to train in the city.

The Argyll Velodrome, located in south-central Edmonton, was constructed in 1977

“Living in Canada, I’ve come to appreciate it more and more the longer I’ve been training in the U.S. and I would love to train at home and have the university nearby as well is a huge factor,” Whitten said.

Local track cyclists have tried to get a new velodrome built for years. A plan to build a new indoor facility at the site of the existing one near Mill Creek Ravine ended in 2009, when a judge ruled in favour of the Argyll Community League, which went to court over concerns about traffic and site size.

Mayor Stephen Mandel said that it’s now time to move the project forward.

“We’ve had some of the greatest bike riders in Canadian history … but I also think this is a great opportunity to continue with the vision the city has to make Edmonton the best city in North America for sports facilities,” he said.

City council will make a decision on whether to spend money on the design work later this month.

Future indoor velodrome in Edmonton

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One comment to “Edmonton velodrome rolls ahead”

  1. Comment by Natasha Zeidler:

    Hey there, You’ve done an incredible job. Cyclists in Edmonton should finally get some priorities… getting this velodrome will be the first step… Your blog rocks! I’d like to read more about cycling, so please, please keep us updated on Edmonton’s cycling scene. I will definitely digg your blog and recommend it to my friends. I’m confident they will be benefit from your web site. Congrats!

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