Opinion: Cyclist wants park opened for use

Mountain biker says local park could attract tourism

Mike Planes and I made the trip yesterday up to Cumberland, where we met several of our Sooke friends, and many dozens of our friends from throughout the mountain biking community of this fair Island.

The event was the Dodge City Downhill, (DCDH) and is one of my favourite mountain bike events of the year.  Not only is the course exceptionally well prepared, fast and fun, but the community of Cumberland sets the gold standard for communities all over B.C. when it comes to involvement and support.  The number one factor which makes this so doable, is their community owned forest. Their mountain bike park is owned by the community and everyone benefits from this; the residents have a world class, signed and mapped trail system to use freely and all the local businesses benefit from the ongoing local tourism that it helps to generate, promote and support. The other, less tangible, factor is the cohesiveness that the community of Cumberland seems to have. I think this cohesiveness comes from the fact that many people, from the various sectors of the community, pitch in as volunteers because it’s fun and it’s just the thing to do.

I can’t help but pine for a future like this in Sooke. We have almost everything we need; an established tourism trade, a great many young families and young people who are into the outdoors, an active mountain bike club, (The Sooke Bike Club – SBC) and most importantly; a community owned mountain bike park. Now, when I say ‘community owned’, our situation is a little different from Cumberland’s. Our publicly owned mountain bike park, Harbourview, is actually owned by the Capaital Regional District (CRD) and managed by CRD Parks.  To say that we, as citizens, own it is true, but we share that ownership with the whole CRD. It belongs to the people of Saanich or Oak Bay as much as it belongs to the people of Sooke.  However, it is within Sooke’s boundaries which means Sooke will get the majority of benefit from it. The best part is that this property is paid for by an entire region and not solely by Sooke, and that is no small thing.  It means a well managed park, with signage and all the other benefits, at minimal costs to the citizens of the District of Sooke where the park is located.

Harbourview Park is not yet open. I don’t know why this is, but I feel that if Sooke were to say to the CRD, ‘hey, we’d like to help get this park open. We have a lot to gain, and time is ticking by — what can we do to help?’ Then we might see that park open this season. The Sooke Bike Club is certainly prepared to do its part to help move things along, but I feel that political will within Sooke is lacking, even though community will for it is strong.

Yesterday, seeing all those young people taking part in the race, (and making me look especially old and slow) I felt a twinge of sadness at some of the senseless deaths of young people I’ve been in contact over the years while I’ve been in Sooke. I know in my heart that physical activities like mountain biking can rescue young people from the other dangers of youth, and I know this because mountain biking rescued me.

Lorien Arnold

Sooke

Just Posted

Port Renfrew man charged with animal cruelty

Hot coffee poured on dog’s face, say police

Sooke cougar sighting unconfirmed

Boy had a close encounter with the big cat

Central Saanich makes moves to alieviate business transit concerns

Councillor calls for enhanced service and long-term transit passes

Saanich sponsors Jeux de la Francophonie giving $50,000 for the French-language Games

Couns. Susan Brice and Nathalie Chambers opposed funding, citing substantive and procedural concerns

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

15-year-old with imitation gun caused ‘dynamic’ scene at Nanaimo mall

No one was harmed in Monday’s incident, say Nanaimo RCMP

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

RCMP investigating alleged ‘sexual misconduct’ by cyclist on BCIT campus

BCIT said they were reviewing video evidence of the incident

New home cost dips in B.C.’s large urban centres

Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver prices decline from last year

Graphic suicide scene edited out of ‘13 Reasons Why’ finale

Suicide prevention groups support the decision

Most Read