Letter: ‘Catch 22’ situation for bike club

Sooke Bike Club caught between a rock and a hard place

he Sooke Bike Club is willing to fund this facility 100 per cent, and that includes coming up with a plan that will be freely available to any and all, but we cannot move forward on this until we have the ‘licence to occupy’ agreement with the District of Sooke in place.

Council wants a solid plan. Sooke Bike Club wants a solid plan. Council and Sooke Bike Club cannot have a solid plan until council signs a ‘licence to occupy’ agreement with Sooke Bike Club.

The term has been identified as two years only. After that, if it doesn’t work then it doesn’t work. But that won’t happen.

Once the ‘license to occupy’ agreement is signed, Sooke Bike Club will fund raise the $5,000 it will take to come up with a solid plan through Alpine Bike Parks, whose job it is to come up with solid plans. You can understand why it would be foolish to pay $5,000 for a solid plan if there is no ‘lease’ in place, and no assurance that we will have this area set aside.

The solid plan will go through District of Sooke staff and the Sooke Bike Club before it is adopted, and during that time, neighbours and residents will have a chance to speak of their concerns and help shape this facility. This facility will rely on public buy in. Then it will truly be a solid plan.

Then,  Sooke Bike Club and Alpine Bike Parks will start to raise funds. There are many ways to proceed, but there’s no point worrying about it too much until we’re all happy with the plan. Alpine Bike Parks will assist in grant writing, and others have volunteered as well.

Some of the funds and grants we are looking at involve the removal of invasive species and replanting indigenous ones. There are youth oriented grants, recreation grants, all sorts of stuff, not to mention service clubs and groups who have indicated their support for the bike park.

As funds become available, the facility will be approached in phases. Obviously, the more and sooner the funds come, the more and sooner we’ll be able to build out the park. It might take five years to reach completion, but a phased approach will equate to a finished look between phases, and ongoing opportunities to fund raise for each phase.

We will likely start with the park components which are targeted toward little kids and their parents and grandparents. Then to the youth with a pump track. Then to the slalom lines and so on and so forth.

Alpine Bike Parks will build this park. They are the cutting edge company, globally, who does this kind of work and we are lucky to have them. There will be opportunities for volunteerism and in kind contributions. We will respect Alpine Bike Parks standard as it applies at Valmont Bike Park. We will respect Alpine Bike Parks’ requirements to not use volunteers for dangerous or sensitive work.

We will be frugal, but not at the expense of building a quality facility. Doing a quality job will ensure minimal maintenance, but when maintenance is required, the Sooke Bike Club will mobilize the biking community, in particular youth and families, and build a sense of community pride and ownership in a facility we can all use and enjoy.

The park will prove itself in the first year, of this I have no doubt.

It has always been the intention to improve John Phillips Park. We will plant trees and shrubs, respect, protect and improve water ways. We’ll insulate the neighbours from any sounds and sights they find objectionable, if that is their wish, within reason. We will bring in arborists who will improve the health of the trees in the area which are protected by covenant.

This facility will be beautiful, regardless of whether you like biking or not.

And, just think about how much fun it will be at all times of year.

Most importantly, we will build this park for everybody who wants to use it. People will think of this park when they think of Sooke. And if we do our job right, which is our number one intention, their thoughts will be happy and filled with joy.

Lorien Arnold,

President, Sooke Bike Club