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JPCA gearing up for bike park launch

From the left: Jay Hoots, Meghan Staneland, Marc Vien, Matt Staneland and Manu Loir-Mongazon stand atop a pile of sand that is being used to construct the JPCA’s new bike park in Jasper. | J.Stockfish photo

Jason Stockfish |

After eight years of determination and relentless effort, the Jasper Park Cycling Association (JPCA) is at last overseeing the building of a bike park in Jasper.

Located at the southwest end of Connaught Drive, the park is being built by industry-renowned Hoots Inc., in continuation of a long-held handshake agreement by the company’s owner, Jay Hoots, and the JPCA.

“It stalled out so many times, and now it’s happening, and people are stoked,” said Matt Staneland, the previous chair and current volunteer with the JPCA.

Construction of the park started on Sept. 6 after the JPCA and Hoots had a walkthrough at the site with Parks Canada.

Once the meeting with the feds concluded, members of the JPCA and volunteers began the onerous task of clearing brush and debris from the site to make room for the 22 loads of sand and the expertly-designed structures that will become the jumps and features of the park.

Staneland and his better half, Meghan, operated machinery to move loads of sand and rocks when they weren’t hauling wheelbarrows.

“That was super fun,” Staneland said of the chance to use equipment for the very heavy lifting.

Looking out over the site, he noted that within a few days a massive pile of dirt had been completely processed for Hoots Inc. to begin their much-anticipated park creation.

“Finally, some table tops in Jasper.”

In 2017, after a career opportunity presented itself, Staneland passed over the reins of the JPCA to its vice-chair at the time, Manu Loir-Mongazon.

“It’s a lot of work and (Manu has) been a force to see it through…and get it to this point, that’s for sure,” Staneland said.

“And now more people can hopefully come on board and help out.”

With amazement and admiration, Loir-Mongazon said that Matt and Meghan had been on-site since the beginning, putting in 10-to-12-hour days.

“It’s been five wicked days,” he said.

“The first two days you could see a lot of progress, and the last few days everything is just getting bigger.”

Manu Loir-Mongazon, chair of the JPCA, moves debris from the site of the non-profit’s long-anticipated bike park on Connaught Drive. | J.Stockfish photo

While the Stanelands and Loir-Mongazon have put in their significant time and effort, the bike park becoming a reality in Jasper is thanks to a community effort of generous donors and devoted volunteers.

The municipality has been a great partner in the project, helping with materials and labour when time and resources allow, with the director of community development Christopher Read personally running water and snacks to volunteers after hours, Loir-Mongazon noted.

The 22 loads of dirt were delivered by Watt Construction, massive rocks were donated by PCL Construction and relocated to the site by the municipality, while Dana Ruddy, Andrew Loughlin, Shawn Handerek, Keith Libeck and Rob Squires built wooden features for the park in their spare time using materials donated by Ross Derksen of Jasper Home Hardware.

For Hoots, all of the driving, emails, meetings and consulting over the years to keep his original agreement with the JPCA, is finally paying off.

 “Manu and Matt are really high level…They’re superheroes,” Hoots said.

“To see them constantly banging their heads against the wall…trying so hard on so many fronts (and) to see them hang in there and have it pay off…Both of those guys have the ultimate enthusiasm and (really) lead by example.”

Hoots said it was that determination from committed individuals that ensured the project would get completed no matter the obstacle.

“At the end of the day, if you don’t jump through all the hoops and figure out how it’s going to come together and then build it from the ground up, then your foundation will fall down and everything will slide with it,” he added.

The drawings for the bike park are based on direct input Hoots received at a public meeting earlier in the process.

“We are trying to figure out how we can make something exciting and dynamic but never lose focus on the fact that we need to grow the community from the kids up and have a place so that Jasperites can stay here and have something that’s not just the fundamental tools of learning but also something that ties in fun with it,” Hoots said.

Loir-Mongazon said the bike park will be a valuable asset for the town of Jasper.

“This is a great project, it’s a good idea, and (Jay Hoots) is the best in the business.”

If all goes according to plan, cyclists will be hitting jumps and drops in a safe and fun environment starting Sept. 16.

“We’re just keeping our heads down, keeping the dirt moving and the rocks rolling,” Loir-Mongazon said.

On Sept. 17, Elk Village Restaurant is hosting a fundraiser for the JPCA’s second phase of construction, which aims to complete the park in 2023.

Volunteers work to remove debris from the site of the JPCA’s new bike park. | Supplied photo

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