A plan to build an indoor velodrome in Edmonton moved one step closer on Tuesday after a council committee passed a recommendation to spend $8.5 million on design work.
The velodrome would be included in the first phase of the Coronation Recreational Facility at 111th Avenue and 142nd Street.
Tara Whitten, the Edmonton cyclist who won bronze last summer as a member of the women's Olympic pursuit team, spoke in favour of the proposal at Tuesday's committee meeting.
She later told reporters that a world-class track would allow her and other Canadian track cyclists to train in the city.
"Living in Canada, I've come to appreciate it more and more the longer I've been training in the U.S. and I would love to train at home and have the university nearby as well is a huge factor," Whitten said.
Local track cyclists have tried to get a new velodrome built for years.
A plan to build a new indoor facility at the site of the existing one near Mill Creek Ravine ended in 2009, when a judge ruled in favour of the Argyll Community League, which went to court over concerns about traffic and site size.
Mayor Stephen Mandel said that it's now time to move the project forward.
"We've had some of the greatest bike riders in Canadian history ... but I also think this is a great opportunity to continue with the vision the city has to make Edmonton the best city in North America for sports facilities," he said.
City council will make a decision on whether to spend money on the design work later this month.