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SORCA to build a new bike skills park at Brennan Park

The District of Squamish will contribute $60,000 to the $360,000 project.
bike park
Then mayor Rob Kirkham (left) and Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association’s Jeff Cooke hold a ribbon for a young rider to run through at the official opening of the mountain bike skills park on April 12, 2014. The park is now getting a rebuild.

The District will give the Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association $60,000 to help the society build a new youth bike skills park at Brennan Park.

"I noted earlier today that you were just talking about the Brennan Park Master Plan," said SORCA president Jeffrey Norman, addressing council on Dec. 14.

"And one of the important facets of that plan was the need for not-for-profits to take up the lead for a number of projects. Well, here today is one of those not-for-profits ready to take the lead."

Norman said that the current skills park is at its end of life, and will require $360,000 for a makeover.

He said a grant from the province, in-kind and other donations would cover much of the cost, but the association needed $60,000 from the District.

He noted that the original park was built in 2013 — officially opening in April of 2014 — with help from a $20,000 contribution from the District.

However, Norman said that heavy use, along with the fact that SORCA wasn't able to put more resources into the project, drove the park to its end-of-life within five to six years.

"Now it's time for a rebuild," he said.

Norman said this new park would be a longer-term solution, expected to last about 15 years.

Much of it will also be pavement, which will reduce the maintenance needed. Beyond removing tree debris, it would require far less work than the existing park, he said.

Norman added that the lion's share of the work would have to be done all at once, with paving and acquisitions starting in the summer.

He said that the timing of the request wasn't ideal. Still, funding information wasn't available until recently, and if the District is to rely on not-for-profit partners, it needs to be nimble in granting funding opportunities.

Council was supportive of the idea and unanimously voted in favour of granting the $60,000.

"I think this, for me, is a very worthwhile project…that deals with little kids [and] outdoor recreation, and I certainly have a bias towards that," said Coun. Doug Race, who proposed the motion.

The District will provide $50,000 from the council's contingency fund and $10,000 from municipal surplus funds.

As a result, officials said it wouldn't add to the amount of property taxes locals will have to pay for the 2020 year.

"I'm really happy that we found a way to put $60,000 toward this project without going the residential property tax route," said Coun. John French.