Bike Skills Park in John Phillips Memorial Park – Alternative proposed
The request by the Sooke Bike Club to create a bike skills park in John Phillips Memorial Park has been under consideration by District of Sooke council since early 2012.
During that time there have been a number of public input sessions at council meetings, as well as at the recent open house held on June 26, 2013 at the Sooke Community Hall.
Council has heard loud and clear that there are two distinct sides to this discussion.
The Sooke Bike Club, who wants to create a full-size bike skills park taking up to 1.8 hectares in area on the north side of John Phillips Memorial Park, and the members of the community that feel a bike skills park is not appropriate for that park.
The proponents of the bike skills park believe a bike park for youth would be beneficial to the community.
Those against it feel it takes away community green space.
They also argue that this plan is inconsistent with the public consultation in 2006 that identified park uses and that it would detract from a significant community asset.
Both sides of the argument are passionate and each feel that their position is justified and in the best interests of the community.
As the process continues, the discussions are becoming more passionate and in my opinion, dividing the community. Any decision that divides a community is not in the best interests of the community.
A successful and healthy community needs to find a compromise which allows each of the differing factions to achieve some of their goals.
As a result I am going to request that council consider an alternative in making a decision on a bike skills park. I feel this will be a compromise that meets some of the goals of each side in this issue and allows us to move forward.
This second alternative would see a small slalom-type bike course constructed and maintained by the District of Sooke for skill levels of children less than eight years of age. It would be located within the area of John Phillips Memorial Park specified for this purpose in the 2006 public consultation process. This option takes up a very small part of the park and is consistent with previously identified public direction. It would require minimal maintenance and be consistent with the passive nature of the park.
SEAPARC is in the process of re-opening the previously constructed bike skills park below the arena and are prepared to make modifications that would make it more suitable. In addition, I have had preliminary discussions with the Sooke Community Association concerning the potential for expanding the bike skills park from the SEAPARC area to the Sooke Community Association property located above.
Representatives of the Sooke Bike Club have been invited to participate in the planning of any changes to the SEAPARC site.
General information outlining the original option and the alternative I am proposing will be on the District website. Please visit www.sooke.ca for more information.