The Squamish mountain biking community's proposal for a skills park at Brennan Park has gained traction at city hall.
Having failed to secure some of the cash handed to the District of Squamish by the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee last year, at Tuesday's (Sept. 18) council meeting the Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association (SORCA) presented a new mountain bike skills park proposal.
The technical riding park would target youth between the ages of seven and 18, but is also usable for adults, said Jeff Cooke, SORCA's vie president. It would provide a safer, controlled environment for young bikers to practice their skills and opens up the activity to youth whose parents or friends don't ride the local trail network, he said.
“We need permission to use the land,” Cooke said.
SORCA proposes to build the park on district property near the rec centre — east of the skateboard park and south of the parking lot. The association is also seeking $20,000 to get the wheels rolling. Overall, the project has an estimated cost of $120,000. Money, labour, materials and machinery would all be raised by donations, Cooke said.
In the municipality's recent Parks and Recreation Master Plan phone survey, 42 per cent of residents said they mountain biked, he said, noting that in addition to that, 43 per cent of Squamish households have children under 12.
“We owe it to Squamish families,” Cooke said of the skills park.
While all council members voiced support for the park, the process was debated. Coun. Bryan Raiser made a motion calling for district staff to work with SORCA to build the park near the rec centre.
“I would like to see more funding going into the park,” Raiser added, noting the concept has been discussed for at least eight years.
Raiser's motion jumped the gun, Coun. Ron Sander said. Sander said he wanted the proposal to be deferred to municipal staff, but in the context of examining how the project fit into the district's land use planning and future goals.
“We need to also see where it fits with priorities and budget,” he said, noting he wasn't as enthused as Raiser to throw more than SORCA's asking price at the project. “I am not so sure I am looking to go Christmas shopping.”
Council agreed to request that staff move forward with the project on the premise that district officials will present park options to council at its meeting on Oct. 16.