Plans for indoor velodrome in Edmonton picking up speed

A push for a new indoor facility to replace the nearly 40-year-old outdoor Argyll Velodrome is picking up speed. This week a delegation will be in Ontario to see what they can learn from the national cycling centre.

From Olympian Lori-Ann Muenzer to Paralympian Ross Wilson: cycling ‘success just keeps breeding success'

Jeff Bakal, with the Argyll Velodrome Association, explains the push for an indoor facility in Edmonton is picking up speed. 1:42

A delegation from the City of Edmonton and the local track-cycling community is heading to Milton, Ont., this week to see what it can learn about that community's indoor velodrome.

The $56-million Mattamy National Cycling Centre, with its 250-metre wooden track, opened in January 2015.

It's the kind of centre many in Edmonton are lobbying for.  

The delegation will be assessing the venue while taking in the Canadian Track Championship. 
A rendering of the indoor velodrome being proposed for Edmonton. (HCMA Architecture)

Devaney Collier is one of nine members of Edmonton's Juvenus Cycling Club competing at the championship.

Collier, 18, already picked up a silver medal at the Junior World Track Cycling Championships earlier this year in Switzerland.

"I think that's largely because of the Argyll Velodrome and the program that we have here at the club," Collier said.

Collier started cycling at age two, before taking part in the Lori-Ann Muenzer Program, named for the Edmonton track cyclist who won gold at the 2004 Olympics. 

The velodrome offers more opportunity for people who want to cycle at the national or international level, Collier said. 
Lori-Ann Muenzer won the gold medal for sprint cycling at the 2004 Summer Olympics. (CBC Archives)

"Success just keeps breeding success and I think that's something that will continue into the future and I hope to inspire some younger people who will be the next generation of that," Collier said.

But Jeff Bakal with the Argyll Velodrome Association believes for that success to continue, Edmonton must have a new indoor track.

The existing outdoor velodrome was constructed for the Commonwealth Games back in 1978.

Bakal believes the track has reached the end of its life and now the association is working with the city and the Edmonton Triathlon Academy to put up a new facility in Coronation Park. 
Students from St. Edmund Recreation Academy are some of the 1,500 kids enrolled in the velodrome's Learn to Ride program. (Adrienne Lamb)

It would include the indoor velodrome, weight rooms, an open gym space and a connection to the Peter Hemingway Pool.

The centre would open in 2020.

Fundraisers are well on their way to meeting the goal of $20 million to move the project forward, Bakal said.

"The last five years the sport has moved indoors and they have to change with the time," he said.

Watch more from the Argyll Velodrome on Our Edmonton Saturday at 10 a.m. and Sunday and Monday at 11 a.m. on CBC TV. 
Track-cycling bikes have no brakes and only one gear. (John Robertson)

About the Author

Adrienne Lamb is an award-winning journalist based in Edmonton. She's the host and producer of Our Edmonton featured weekly on CBC TV. Adrienne has spent the last couple of decades telling stories across Canada.