Four-km of trail lighting and other enhancements are being done to Red Deer’s River Bend Trails with a $200,000 grant from the provincial government.
This is “critical” to the Canada Winter Games, which will hold biathlon and cross-country ski events at River Bend Golf Course in February and March of 2019.
It will also will greatly benefit the Parkland Cross-Country Ski Club, which will be able to host national-level competitions in future, said club president Tom Marr-Laing.
But he believes all Central Albertans will gain from these improvements in years to come — including fat-tire bike racers, mountain bike racers, competitive runners, and “who know what else will emerge over time.”
Red Deer North MLA Kim Schreiner was thrilled to present the grant on behalf of Alberta Culture and Tourism Minister Ricardo Miranda on Wednesday morning.
“We are proud to join the Parkland Cross-Country Ski Club and people of this community in supporting trail enhancements with the Community Facility Enhancement Grant,” she said.
The improvements will “showcase our city” during the 2019 Games, and remain as a legacy, Schreiner added.
Red Deer’s acting mayor, Lawrence Lee, said any investment in Red Deer’s parks and trails system is a great investment for the community.
“This is a jewel for any person to come to,” added Brian Miller, general-manager of River Bend Golf Course, of the re-developed four-seasons park.
The $200,000 will also help complete the trail system, including adding some permanent snow-making infrastructure.
About $750,000 worth of work has been done to the site, so far — from constructing a building for Game timers, to creating a national quality flat “stadium” site needed for the start and finish of competitions.
Marr-Laing said the biathlon range was doubled in size, and about five kilometres of renovated trails were also developed.