A Portage la Prairie outdoor group is pushing Portage city council to add more recreation space within the city.

The Junk Yard Dogs, a local not-for-profit bike club with over 300 members, approached city council with a delegation during Monday night's council meeting in regards to establishing an outdoor recreation and education site. Club president Blair Geisel thinks it would make a great addition to Portage.

"There are many bike parks in North America, including in Manitoba," says Geisel. "We want to create something different than just our trails, and we thought this is an ideal location to create a bike park to augment our trail system."

The proposed recreation facility would be located south of Koko Platz and Mellenville, across the Trans-Canada Highway on the south side. The park would boast interpretive trails, a bike park, toboggan hills, and the possibility of a magic carpet lift, which is a conveyor system to get people up and down the hill.

Geisel notes the first step is to get the city on board, then some maintenance would have to take place in the area as it used to act as the city's dump.

"It's got a cover over it, a skin of earth to protect the hazardous material that is below there, so it doesn't get into the groundwater. It's damaged and compromised by vehicle traffic, especially four-wheel drives, quads, and side-by-sides," says Geisel. "Wheel tracks are going up the toboggan hill that are one foot a to a foot and a half deep, and they cut directly into the hazardous material."

Geisel adds the site is approximately 65 acres, and fencing would be required around the perimeter to keep off-road vehicles out.

Junk Yard Dogs enlisted the services of Scatliff+Miller+Murray (SMM), who specialize in visionary urban design and landscapes. This company has undertaken projects such as The Plaza at the Forks, The Kristopher Campbell Memorial Skateboard Plaza in Brandon, and the Portage la Prairie Recreation Framework Plan, which is the ongoing Simplot Central Park development. Geisel outlines what progress has been made.

"We have only had one consultation with them, and partly because we haven't permission at this point to use the site," he says. "So, we're not investing a tremendous amount of money and time until we get that permission, so we've just had an initial consultation with Scatliff+Miller+Murray."

SMM is also known for its involvement in other trails like Northgate Trails in Dauphin, the Asessippi Bike Park, and the Neepawa Bike Park. Geisel gives us a ballpark cost estimate.

"Bike park costs can vary depending on their size and can range anywhere from probably $50,000, and the one in Neepawa was probably 250 to 300 thousand dollars. We're not looking at something as ambitious as what Neepawa has because we already have a bike trail system out there, and we want to augment it," says Geisel. "Prices range significantly for the type of features that are constructed out there."

After the presentation, Mayor Irvine Ferris noted council will be taking a further look at the proposal.