Another chapter in the Mountain Bike Park saga

Some of the land the city offered for the park isn't theirs to offer

Bruce and Roberta Douglas of Springbok Road are upset about the possibility of the space between their property and Dogwood Street becoming a mountain bike training park.

The park, which is still in the early stages of development, recently went through city council after a long battle that included various studies and site explorations, and is in the process of a rezoning application to see if the project is feasible.

“We wish to register our strong opposition to siting this kind of facility so close to residential properties,” said the Douglas’ recent letter to the Mirror, citing various concerns and proposing another cite be found for the park, possibly within an existing recreational park or in an industrial area of the city, “where family homes would not be disturbed.”

According to Wendy Ravai of the Campbell River Bike Park Society, the community consultation process is still underway, and any concerns that people have will be addressed in the final plan, well before any development begins.

“If people feel the development plan doesn’t address their concerns, we would examine that during the consultation process,” she said, emphasizing that the project could only move forward to the development proposal stage after the feasibility assessment stage, and that stage couldn’t happen until a site was determined. At this point, even that aspect of the project remains unsettled, so public concerns may be premature.

“Our goal is to work through the process with the entire community, to create something that will benefit the entire community,” Ravai said.

“No process is perfect,” she said of the fact that the site needed to be approved before the actual development plan could be developed, unfortunately complicating the relationship between the proponents of the park and the community, “but it’s the process that’s in place, and we’re working within that process to see if we can make it work.”

Ross Milnthorp, General Manager of Parks, Recreation and Culture for the city of Campbell River said he has heard the concerns of the residents on adjacent properties, as well, and they are being taken into consideration.

“We have a lot of the same concerns as they do. We go through this any time we have any project on any public land,” he said, adding that it is still “very, very early in the process,” and anyone with any apprehension will have many opportunities throughout the process to voice those concerns and have them addressed, not only through public open houses, but also at council, as well as during the actual rezoning application process.

There may be an issue with the current proposed location that doesn’t have anything to do with concerns from nearby residents, however.

The city of Campbell River’s records were apparently incorrect when they originally approved the location for the park at the Aug. 12 meeting of council, and part of the section of land that was approved for its use actually belongs to the Crown, throwing another knot into the process that will take some time to unravel.

Milnthorp said that the city will begin the discussions to form an agreement with the Crown to be able to use that land before the process can continue – a “license to occupy,” which is a long-term lease-type situation – if the Dogwood site is still determined to be the best location, but that the proponents are also currently examining other venues, including ones that were ruled out previously, because of how long and complicated that process can sometimes be.

Watch future editions of the Mirror and for updates on the park’s fate.