New Brunswick

Dieppe closes velodrome because of safety concerns

The Dieppe velodrome, which has hosted four national championships since 2011, has been closed for safety reasons.

City says it will not replace the track because of declining use and high construction costs

The Dieppe velodrome has lasted 17 years, which is longer than expected. (Radio-Canada)

The velodrome in Dieppe, scene of four national championships since it was built in 2001, has been closed for safety reasons and won't reopen. 

The structure will be demolished next week, said Luc Bujold, director of Dieppe's culture, leisure and community life division.   

It was an especially hard winter for the outdoor cycling track, according to Bujold.

"It's been a very difficult winter with freezing and thaw, so we had it evaluated and it was recommended that it wasn't safe to use it as a velodrome," he said. 

The metal plates that hold the trusses together are popping out, and wood is rotting. Bujold said it would need a total rebuild.

The structure had problems back in 2012. That year Dieppe was able to repair the problems and host a national championship in the summer. 

Less use

The track has held four national championships since it was built in 2001. (Radio-Canada)

The velodrome has also seen a decrease in use. It used to be a training centre for Atlantic Canada, but in 2014, Cycling Canada moved everything to Ontario, and the Dieppe velodrome lost funding. 

Bujold said cycling has also changed.

"The kids today, they're more into the BMX, the mountain biking," said Bujold. "Even the adults, you look a lot of people are using cyclo-cross.

"Track cycling is not as popular as it used to be."

Past its lifespan

The velodrome has rotting wood and metal plates popping out, making it unsafe to use. (Radio-Canada)

The velodrome's structural problems weren't a surprise to city staff. When it was built, Bujold was told velodromes typically last 12 to 15 years.

Dieppe was able to get 17 seasons out of its facility. During that time, the velodrome hosted four national championships along with one cyclo-cross national championship in the area around the track. 

The initial cost for the velodrome was $120,000, which Bujold said took negotiating. He said the city won't be looking into building a new velodrome, since it would cost too much this time around. 

But the decommissioning of the velodrome was a surprise even to Bujold, who was hoping to get one more season out of it.

The city will start consulting the public about what to do with the land after the velodrome is gone.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Philip Drost is a journalist with the CBC. You can reach him on Twitter @phildrost or by email at philip.drost@cbc.ca.

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