A proposal to build a new, state-of-the-art bike park at a city site has divided many Carlington area residents.

On Thursday members of the Community and Protective Services Committee will debate a proposal by the Ottawa Mountain Bike Association, backed by River Ward Councillor Riley Brockington, to build a bike park at the top of Carlington Park.

“We are looking to do something a little different, more accessible to everybody. where people can work on their skills in a safe, fun setting that is generally more social than out in the woods alone,” said David Marchand-Smith with the Ottawa Mountain Bike Association. 

If approved by council, the so-called skills track or pump track will occupy about 2 per cent of the city park, or 0.32 hectares. Construction would be completed in four phases, with the first phase a trial two year pilot project. 

“There will be no other phases considered without first going through the committee in the future,” Brockington said. “ In 2018, after two full summers, we will reflect on those two years and all the stakeholders, the association, and other hill users come together and we will access the successfulness of that plan.” 

The Carlington Community Association conducted a survey finding 70% of respondents supported the idea of a Bike park. 

Ken Power owns the nearby Cycle Power store. He said he’s in favour of the proposal if it accommodates everyone’s needs. 

“It's going to be good for our business and it's good for the community. It gets children involved. general, you know, health and welfare,” he said. 

But those who use the park every day to walk their dogs or exercise appear mixed on the idea. Dog walker Jim Richards said he wants more information about exactly how big the bike park will be and what it will look like.

“You would think in that length of time they would know exactly how big it is and should have detailed drawings about what they are going to build and they should have a complete costing done out,” Richards said. 

Others, however, think the site would bring more people to Carlington Park and would make the sport of mountain biking more accessible. 

“That sounds like a great idea,” said one runner. “I like biking too and I just live around the corner so I think it would be great.” 

Brockington said the proposed bike area will not affect the park's environmentally protected area, the summit, or the slope.

"People will still be able to use the hill for all the uses they have now," he said. "There will be a smaller component where the track is going, but all other uses will still be permitted." 

The city said the Ottawa Mountain Bike Association will built and operate the park at limited expense to the city. The proposal could get the green light as early as September 28th, with public consultations on the design starting after that. Brockington said the shovel could be in the ground as early as next year.