The West Shore parks and rec board will decide next week if it will green-light a plan to reopen the idling Juan de Fuca velodrome.

Juan de Fuca velodrome on track to reopen for cyclists

After nearly three years of growing dust and sitting idle, the Juan de Fuca velodrome could be open to track cyclists within a month.

Insurance underwriters for West Shore Parks and Recreation and the Greater Victoria Velodrome Association have set out a series of conditions that would allow cyclists on the track, while protecting parks and rec from legal liability.

The proposal needs the approval of the WSPR board of directors, scheduled to meet next Thursday (May 19). If given the green light, parks staff would install a permanent chain-link fence across the velodrome entryway, glue down portions of frayed infield turf, power wash the track and remove the wooden boards.

“I’m really excited to get this open again,” said Moralea Milne, a WSPR director and Metchosin councillor. “Cycling is a big thing these days, especially with Ryder (Hesjedal) doing so well. I think this is a really good thing.”

Costs to prep the track are estimated at $10,000 to $12,000, and would be covered by the GVVA. Under conditions of the insurers, only registered GVVA members, covered by Cycling BC insurance, would be allowed to ride the velodrome and set foot on portions of the infield.

GVVA president Chris Anstey, who has vigorously lobbied for the track to reopen for more than two years, said his organization should have no problem footing the bill. “We have 99 per cent in the bank today,” he said.

After offering a number of quashed plans to bring the track back to life, he remains cautious about predicting how the WSPR board will react. “We’ll see what happens Thursday,” Anstey offered.

The velodrome, used for the 1994 Commonwealth Games, was abruptly fenced off in August 2008 after Aon Risk Control Services reported the aging and damaged infield carpet was a serious legal liability. Installing modern turf was estimated at $800,000.

Many board directors saw little reason to spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars repairing what they called an irregular sized field within a 333-metre velodrome that no longer met the norms of track cycling.

But cyclists across the region and Metchosin council advocated loudly, often sparking furious debates at the board table, to find a solution for the velodrome without breaking the bank. In March, the WSPR board struck the velodrome subcommittee on the prompting of Milne and fellow Metchosin councillor Jo Mitchell, with the sole task of getting cyclists back on the track.

On Monday, Milne said the subcommittee – with representatives from View Royal, Colwood, Langford, Highlands and Metchosin – unanimously supported the plan that would give a one year lease to the GVVA.

“It took some time. Some directors were very cautious about liability for West Shore parks and for the directors,” Milne said, referring to the fear by some directors that they could be held personally liable if the Aon Risk Assessment report was ignored. “(Administrator) Linda Barnes and her staff worked so hard on this to make this happen.”

If the board gives the go-ahead, WSPR facilities manager Wade Davies said it would take about two weeks to prep the site, including power washing the track surface and gluing down portions of lifted carpet.

“We just need to make the (WSPR) insurance company satisfied so potential liability is minimized,” Milne said. “There is always some risk, you can’t live with no liability, but we’ve done our due diligence.”

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

 

Just Posted

Shaving minutes off commutes among the goals for Victoria bus lanes

Work on southbound Douglas Street lane between Tolmie and Hillside getting underway

VicPD nab distracted driver with expired licence

On the phone while in motion, man had overdue fines from driving while impaired

Working for the common good

Film Awareness night examines alternate business models

Cooking with ‘Killer’

Reporter Dawn Gibson shares some of her favourite meals to make

WEB POLL: Would you support a B.C.-wide ban on single-use plastic bags?

Would you support a B.C.-wide ban on single-use plastic bags?… Continue reading

Tsunami warnings 101: Canada

Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada and how they work

Castlegar homicide victim identified

The victim was 38-year-old Jordan Workman of Castlegar, B.C.

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates get one last prime-time pitch

Leadership campaign to be decided in Feb. 3 vote

How high is safe from a tsunami? Four metres above sea level

Be disaster ready with food, water and clothing for seven days

Victoria Film Festival set for triumphant return to the big screen

Two decades on, diverse film lineups keep movie-goers coming to the box office

Andrew Scheer on trade, Trump and Trudeau

Canada’s Conservative leader begins three-day visit to B.C.

Victoria’s most wanted for the week of Jan. 23

Crime Stoppers will pay a reward of up to $2,000 for information that leads to arrests or the seizure of property or drug

Victims restrained, sex toys and cash stolen from B.C. adult store

Armed suspects sought in adult store robbery

Most Read