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Bike park gets a helping hand

Sharing a laugh at being asked to jump for joy at the announcement of $75,000 in funding for the bike park at SEAPARC are: Emma Taylor, Mike Hicks, Steve Knoke, Wendal Milne and Laura Cooper. - Pirjo Raits
Sharing a laugh at being asked to jump for joy at the announcement of $75,000 in funding for the bike park at SEAPARC are: Emma Taylor, Mike Hicks, Steve Knoke, Wendal Milne and Laura Cooper.
— image credit: Pirjo Raits

After years of indecision, meetings and acrimony the bikers in Sooke and region will now have a place to practice their sport.

The bike park at SEAPARC will be upgraded and access will be improved thanks to a $75,000 grant from the Capital Regional District. This, on top of the already committed $24,000 from SEAPARC, will bring $100,000 in financing for the park improvements.

Partnering up with the key players meant the application to the CRD- Active Transportation Innovative Infrastructure Funding Program could meet the requirements. SEAPARC, the District of Sooke and the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area all had a hand in the grant application.

"Innovation was the key," said Juan de Fuca planner Emma Taylor.

The CRD had a surplus in their gas tax, said Hicks and he put the call out and teamed up with the District of Sooke as one partner and with SEAPARC as the other.

The money will be used to provide access to the bike park from Throup Road. The grade is steep on the access route and a lot of the grade will be taken out and other alignments will change.

"This isn't just for bikes," said Laura Cooper. "It's for all users."

The trail will allow users to eventually walk a path from Otter Point Road (along Wadams Way, the new connector road) to SEAPARC.

Other components in the bike park will be addressed as well, including new amenities.

Construction on the bike park is expected to begin in June. The trail is expected to take longer to complete and will be done in stages.

Without the grant, these types of enhancements would not have been possible, said Mayor Wendal Milne.

"Eyes on the park will increase," said SEAPARC Manager Steve Knoke. "You'll be able to see what the kids are doing there."

"This will make a highway from the schools to SEAPARC," said Hicks. "For me it's a classic example of the JdF and Sooke working together and getting a tremendous result."

Knoke said the Bike Park Steering Committee is heavily involved and "they're excited as well."

The entire project is expected to be complete by the spring of 2015.

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