Letters: Plan will devastate park

Bike Skills Park is not the favoured use in park says letter writer

Anyone who has an interest about the construction of the Bike Skills Park at John Phillips Memorial Park must see ValmontBikeParks.com by Alpine Bike Parks, the partner in funding/building and design with the local bike club.

My initial assumptions were completely wrong. The plan the organizers need to present to council and the public must include photos of the intended end result over the expected five-year development. This is more than trails for specific skill development. It is a complete devastation of what the park currently is. The online photos and video speak for themselves. While the president of the clubs said there is “no intention to bulldoze the area flat,” the areas are stripped of grass, soil displaced and truckloads more brought in. There is no resemblance to a nature setting. This is a development for bikes. Period.

The key points that make this appear as the positive step for the community are the intent to remove blackberry and broom. Replace them with native trees and shrubs. Expand trails for non-bike users. Install picnic tables and a washroom. Seems to me that these are measures that should be the initiative of council, enhancement for public use.

The bike group’s association with forward thinking group Sooke Slow Food Cycle and desire to rely on volunteers to move this ahead in order to provide a recreational destination for youth, is a strong selling platform.

People may have little empathy for the quality of life and property value decline for the immediate neighbourhood but Sooke is not growing more parks. Take a walk to all four corners in this park after watching ValmontBikeParks.com and see if you still feel the same.

While the kids, parents and grandparents shown were engaged in what amenities there were, I wondered at what cost? The video showed houses directly on the boundary with no landscape to protect privacy. Whatever species of wildlife that has a home were gone. At a glance our park may not look like there is a lot going on, but the tree frogs, birds and deer would argue that. People who enjoy it would argue preserve it for what it offers now.

It’s easy to tune out other people’s opinions so let you decision be based on the “before” face of our park and the “after” intended by the Sooke Bike Club and developer.

I personally want a destination for true park-like activities.

Carmen Neumann

Sooke