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Campbell River mountain bike park one jump closer to development

The yellow cross-hatched triangle indicates the lot proposed as a  location for a mountain bike park. - Mirror graphic
The yellow cross-hatched triangle indicates the lot proposed as a location for a mountain bike park.
— image credit: Mirror graphic

The goal of developing a mountain bike training facility and skills park in Campbell River has cleared another hurdle, or gap, or rail, or (insert your favourite mountain biking reference).

At the Aug. 12 meeting of Campbell River City Council, a site was officially proposed and approved for the development of the facility. The site chosen, after extensive consultation with various community groups, is a 3.2-acre parcel of land adjacent to the Beaver Lodge Forest Lands at 1100 Dogwood St. South, between Dogwood Street and the houses on the west side of Springbok Road.

“Three years ago this summer, my eldest son was diagnosed with dyslexia,” said Wendy Ravai, the driving force behind the project. Shortly after her son’s diagnosis, she said they took a family vacation, and he fell in love with mountain biking at a training park and told her, “We need one of these in Campbell River.”

“I told him, ‘if you don’t give up on trying to read, I won’t give up on getting a bike park.’”

And she hasn’t.

After being stuck in discussions with the Beaver Lodge Forest Lands for some time, with the project bogged down in indecision and uncertainty, Ravai and Beth Pechter went to the city to see if there were options.

The city commissioned a designer/builder, Coast Gravity, to come in and look at various prospective sites for the park, and finally settled on the Dogwood Street location.

Development of the area will begin as soon as the land can be successfully rezoned from R-1 (residential) to PA-1 (Public Areas) to accommodate the park, as it will be considered a “recreational complex” in the zoning bylaw.

This process must include a public hearing on the rezoning proposal, which will be scheduled and publicized at a future date.

Once the property has been developed, the River City Cycle Club, which proposed and developed the concept of the park, will form a society, who will then enter into an agreement with the city to be responsible for the construction, maintenance, and operation of the facility, as well as obtain liability insurance for the park’s operation.

“It’s good for the community, it’s good for tourism, and it’s good for attracting future residents,” said Catherine Temple of Go Campbell River. “There is absolutely huge money in it, and we’ve got some of the best riding in the province. What we don’t have is the infrastructure to market to people,” she said. According to Temple, this training park is the first step to remedying that situation.

Campbell River city councilor Ron Kerr, who backed the park’s creation when it came before council added that the park is another well-needed family-friendly activity for people who live here, and agrees that it will both bring in tourists and be yet another selling point to encourage people to move here.

“To me, it just seems like a win in all directions,” he said.

Ravai said the ultimate goal is to bring people together, which is what the whole process of getting the facility built is doing.

“This is a huge opportunity for so many groups, organizations, and individuals to come together. It’s really the epitome of ‘community,’ when you look at it. It’s going to be a community park, built by the community, for that community.” The rezoning application is expected to move forward in September. Watch the Mirror for future updates.

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