Dear Mayor and Council,
I am writing in response to Mayor Milne’s comments on the bike skills park in the Sooke News Mirror, July 24, 2013.
The bike skills park is a concept that will be ruined by the compromise suggested by Mayor Milne. The term “skills” implies advancement through several levels from rank beginner to an accomplished recognized master. To have a skills park that is suitable for beginners and no one else denies the possibility of improvement and lessens the chance that even the beginners will get what they want out of going to the park. The beginners will get bored quickly and not come back.
Families often struggle to find activities that meet the needs of more than one child. What is the 12-year-old rider with some experience to do while a younger sibling tries to ride the little pump track? He or she will let the parent know the bike skills park is boring.
It is too bad the bike skills park has become an issue that divides the community. I doubt that it really is that divisive. However, we must look at what is going on here, do some soul searching and realize that this compromise renders older children invisible. No one is against seeing parents at the park with small children. Older children, unsupervised, are a threat. Let’s put them down in a hidden area, in a place where attentive parents would not let their own children go alone.
Not only is conceding to this fear morally wrong, it is contrary to the facts. I live across the street from a little park in Sooke where teenagers hang out. I would like to tell everyone that they are generally quiet and don’t bother anyone. The sad thing is this little park offers the youth nothing more than a patch of grass and some shade. A proper bike skills park would offer our youth something tangible and let them know they are worthwhile.
What we need is leadership that recognizes the concept of a bike skills park has wholeness to it. Skills development cannot be successfully divided. I respectfully ask Mayor and Council to do the right thing. It may alienate some for a while, but in the long run a complete bike skills park will be seen to have made our community a better place.