Bike park proving costly

Mayor wonders if bike club has financial resources to build bike park

The Sooke Bike Club is not pleased with the mayor’s alternate site for a bike skills park.

The mayor is not pleased with the bike club’s stance and rigidness.

The issue of where a bike skills park could go has been an ongoing debate between District of Sooke council, the Sooke Bike Club and area residents.

Mayor Wendal Milne met with the bike club in mid-August and he said there was not a lot of receptiveness to a site he felt was more appropriate. The bike club has been vying for a space at John Phillips Memorial Park while the mayor is suggesting the old bike park site beside Art Morris Park and SEAPARC.

“They had some receptiveness,” said Milne, “but at the end of the day their best option was John Phillips.”

In 2006 a public consultation process began and a bike park was built at SEAPARC.

“The alternate site meets that vision in 2006,” said Milne. “The whole thing is too big a process, the bike club has no business plan.”

Milne said the bike park at JPMP would cost upwards of $300,000 at full build out and $15,000 in maintenance per year.

The district has already spent $3,600 for plans and another $5-6,000 upgrading the SEAPARC site. Liability issues would also be the district’s responsibility.

“In reality they don’t have the money,” said Milne.

The mayor said he gave the bike club the opportunity to plan for the SEAPARC site and they chose not to.

He said the original proposal in early 2012 was for a small slalom run and it has since grown out of control and is now too large in scope.

The mayor’s vision is to build a smaller scale bike skills park for younger kids at JPMP and a more complex park for older youth at SEAPARC.

Milne there is some misinformation being put out there and he said the SEAPARC site is not under water and it is not the Throup Road bypass.

For now the whole park idea is at a standstill and will re-emerge at a public hearing on September 23 at the Sooke Community Hall.

Council will look at all of the options and the presentations from the public.

There is not concrete plan at the moment and the decision will be up to council.

Milne said he wants all residents to have their say and not be intimidated by large numbers of people potentially on one side of the issue.

“It’s not a debate, that’s not productive. We have to think down the road and be careful with our greenspace,” he said.

Milne said they have to do what is in the best interests of the community.