Kids aren’t active enough and Steve Knoke recognizes this and wants to help make it so they are outside more, getting exercise and fresh air.
“This program,” he said, referring to the grant for the Sooke bike park, “creates the opportunity for kids to be active and foster a connection with nature. Cycling is a life skill.”
Knoke, SEAPARC manager, isn’t alone in this pursuit by any means. He’s just one of the people making the bike park at SEAPARC happen. A grant of $75,000 was received from the Capital Regional District through the Active Transportation Innovative infrastructure Funding Program with SEAPARC, the District of Sooke and the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area as participants. SEAPARC committed a further $24,000.
The bike park will be built in phases, with the first being the pump track, a circular hard-dirt surface with hills the riders can have fun on. The next phase is the trail access which goes from the end of Throup Road to SEAPARC.
“It’s out to tender,” said Knoke. “We’re waiting on bids and quotes.”
The third phase is refurbishing the dirt jumps but this is subject to budget considerations.
“I’m excited,” said Knoke. “I don’t want to lose sight of getting kids outside, this will be the fundamental building blocks of this. It’s about children, youth, it’s for everyone and this is a good place to start.”
The community has also stepped in to make the bike park happen. Butler Brothers donated the gravel, the community is showing support and the Bike Park Steering Committee is on board with the project.
“If we get donations and in-kind donations we will get more out of this,” stated Knoke. He mentioned sponsorship packages and tax receipts for those who choose to help the park expand.
Alpine Bike Parks has been working on the site and they are as passionate about creating the space as are the proponents.
Stephane Pellieter and Dylan Smith are two young men, along with Morgan and Luke, who have been working on the pump track. They both mountain bike and are totally on board with making the park as great place for riders.
“I just mountain bike and thought it would be fun to build jumps,” said Pellieter, who is from Calgary. Smith is from Regina and he studied building tracks and mountain bike operations. For both it is their first time on the Island and they want to return.
Knoke stresses that the bike park is not just for kids, it’s for the whole family.
“I want to ride this when it’s ready,” he said.