The Squamish Sports Legacy Park still has a ways to go but the vision of the facility was shared in front of a packed house inside a meeting room at the Sandman Hotel on Thursday (Jan. 10).
Presenter Rick Smith of the Callaghan Winter Sports Club (CWSC) shared the group's vision during the first public information meeting for the project. While there are big plans over the long haul for the park, Smith said the project is likely to be put together in two or three phases over the next few years.
“It really depends on the amount of money we're working with,” he said, when asked about the timelines for the park. “We would have walking trails in our first phase, along with some paved trail. We'd also probably have one of the smaller ski jumps in, and if other partners come on board, maybe their facilities could be built as well.”
Smith said park officials have been in discussions with several other local recreational groups and they would be open to having those groups included in the park's plans.
“There will be running trails and we're open to some sort of bike park as well,” he said. “There's lots of space and we would welcome mountain bikers with open arms. There's also the opportunity for a climbing area for introductory or intermediate climbers.”
He said the park could include sports like disc golf, wheelchair sports, roller sports and a vita parcours fitness trail. Vita parcours are outdoor trails equipped with obstacles or stations along the way to challenge the human body.
The ultimate vision for the park, which will be located one kilometre east of the Brennan Park Recreation Centre on Raven Lane, includes a biathlon range, three ski jumps (10 metres, 20 metres and 40 metres), a roller-ski track, two kilometres of paved trail and a covered pavilion area. Smith said the group representing the late Sarah Burke expressed interest in the possibility of a freestyle skiing area in the park.
Smith said the park will be put together at no direct cost to Squamish taxpayers.
“We're using our own fundraising and money from the Legacy Funds to build this park,” he said, noting the only maintenance and operation costs for the park are lights and hydro.
Approximately 40 per cent of the project will be funded from the $110,000 from the Legacy Funds, 30 per cent from other donations and grants, 20 per cent from value in kind and volunteer agreements and 10 per cent from program revenue.
Smith said the park will create destination sport tourism opportunities for Squamish and attract multi-sport and youth camps to town. He said the influx of newcomers will be a boon to local hotel and restaurant operators.
Concerns were expressed by locals who worried about the potential for more animal-human conflicts. One audience member claimed that there are two bear dens located on the park, which could create dangerous situations for both animals and humans.
Another potential issue could be parking. Smith said the plan is to initially have 10-20 spots, which seemed low to a number of audience members. A Squamish resident who lives on Raven Lane said the road could be too narrow for the expected increase of traffic. Others worried about the potential noise problems from the shooting range.
Planner Sabina Foofat, who represented the District of Squamish at the meeting, said the park is still in the early stages and needs to go through two readings at council before another public meeting, followed by a third reading to approve the park. The land planned for the park still also has to be rezoned from light industrial to recreational.
For more information on the proposal, visit www.callaghanwintersportsclub.ca/legacy-park.