Red Deer’s River Bend Golf and Recreation Area will see additional enhancements and upgrades to its cross-country ski trails and biathlon facilities.
On Wednesday, the Government of Alberta announced through Red Deer North MLA Kim Schreiner the contribution of a Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) grant of $200,000 to the Parkland Cross-Country Ski Club for improvements to the River Bend venue.
Those improvements being done in partnership with the City of Red Deer, River Bend Golf and Recreation Society and 2019 Canada Winter Games Host Society.
Enhancements include completing renovations to the trails, installing four kilometres of trail lighting and developing some permanent snow making infrastructure.
Tom Marr-Laing, President of the Parkland Cross-Country Ski Club and Sport Lead for the Canada Winter Games Cross-Country, says this will not only make the facility fully-ready for the Games but help establish a long-term legacy for the City and its residents.
“It’s about an additional two and a half kilometres of trails that we’re going to renovate,” explains Marr-Laing. “Some of the trails are fine as they are and there has been about five kilometres of trails that have been dramatically modernized over the last year and a half.
River Bend will play host to the Cross-coutry Skiing and Biathlon events during the 2019 Canada Winter Games. Marr-Laing says hosting the Western Canadian Cross-Country Ski Championships for the first time last winter was a great experience in being able to host large-scale events at the newly upgraded facility.
“We had 500 athletes here racing on this venue,” states Marr-Laing. “Red Deer is [now] in a position to host national level cross-country race events, and that’s true also for biathlon.
“Now that we have a technical building and a proper stadium and all that kind of stuff in place, we’re hoping that will translate to other sports then being attracted to come to Red Deer to use this facility for their needs, be it mountain bike racing or fat tire racing which is a growing sport.”
Schreiner feels this investment ‘truly fosters the essence of community.
“It’s remarkable to witness the time commitment and conviction that everyone radiates as we draw closer to the spectacular athletic competition,” she said. “Once it is done, we have investment in our city to support the health and vitality of our citizens of Red Deer.”
Deputy Mayor Lawrence Lee says he’s quite happy the facilities will be available to anyone and everyone once finished.
“I’m just so thrilled and pleased and excited that these community organizations worked so hard to advocate and continue to improve our community for a better Red Deer.”
Brian Miller, General Manager for the River Bend Golf and Recreation Area concludes the venue is a four-season jewel for any person to come to.
“The principal people that were involved in building this so many years ago, they definitely had it right,” he exclaims. “To improve it now, we look forward to those changes and multi-use for many people to use for many years to come.”
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