Squamish could have its first mountain bike skills park by next spring.
In September, the Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association (SORCA) presented a proposal to District of Squamish to build a bike park on municipally owned property near Brennan Park Recreation Centre. Since then, a project team consisting of SORCA members and district employees has outlined the initial steps to complete the facility by May 2013, the director of recreation services, Tim Hoskin, told council on Tuesday (Oct. 16).
The project fits the bill as the municipality seeks to align its recreation facilities and programming with its “Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada” branding, he noted. In a recent district survey, 42 per cent of Squamish residents who participated in the questionnaire stated they mountain bike.
Risk management for the facility is generally perceived as no different than a skate park, playground or ice rink, Hoskin said, noting most municipalities in the Lower Mainland have bike parks.
If the district takes on insurance to cover the park, there would be no additional cost to the municipality, he said. However, if municipal staff decide to go with a private carrier, it could affect the project's bottom line.
The property, which is beside a small skateboard park at the south end of the rec centre's parking lot, is constrained by a fish-bearing watercourse. The riparian setbacks will need to be addressed by a qualified environmental professional, Hoskin said.
SORCA members estimated the project would cost $120,000. The association has promised $100,000 worth of donated cash and equipment to build the park. The organization requested the district pitch in $20,000. That number could increase if the municipality was to add picnic tables, a water fountain or lighting.
Depending on the final design and level of district-supplied maintenance of the park, an ongoing costs of approximately $20,000 per year should be set aside to support the park, stated the community and development services report to council.
Coun. Doug Race said he was happy to support the initiative. He noted he was originally concerned that there might be a conflict over the use of the land, but local parks officials said the project fits in with the Official Community Plan and draft Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
All of the budgeting, risk management and maintenance details will be examined further and brought before council in December, Hoskin said.