The much-anticipated Campbell River Bike Park got a huge jump closer to becoming a reality as city council approved spending $85,000 to get the project through Phase 1 and into Phase 2 during its 2019 financial planning sessions held Dec. 3-5.
Wendy Ravai, president of the Campbell River Bike Park society, made her pitch to city council at the start of its three-day budgeting session, outlining the society’s current situation and what the funding request would accomplish, should it be granted.
“When you have a community that people want to play in, it’s also a community they want to move to and it’s a community they want to live in,” Ravai says.
The society has been working on the project for over five years – Ravai has been at it herself for more than eight – and it is finally ready to pull the trigger on construction. The work began in the trees beside Alder Street near the Sportsplex some time ago, but the actual work of installing the park needed more funding before it could begin.
“We have our location, we have all of our assessments approved, we’ve been working very hard with the recreation department to figure out how all the ownership and maintenance will work – we’ve worked through a lot of those details,” Ravai says, “and we now have finalized budgets from Velosolutions for the pump track and the Coast Gravity Group for Phase 3, which is the dirt jumps and all that fun stuff.”
To date, Ravai says, the society has raised $50,000 of in-kind donations from the community – people willing to donate time and/or materials to see the facility built – as well as $25,000 in cash donations. They are currently in discussions with both Kinsmen and Rotary to see if they would like to be involved in some way and both groups have expressed interest, but they needed the seed money from the city “to add to the construction costs, the removal of all the danger trees – we have all the assessments done – help remove the waste from the site, and help with the picnic and garbage area,” as well as provide ongoing maintenance of the site, such as emptying garbage cans, Ravai says.
Coun. Charlie Cornfield asked Ravai whether the $85,000 ask from the city would get the facility built.
“Between the $75,000 that we’re providing and the $85,000 we’re asking for, it will completely build phase 1 and do a portion of Phase 2,” Ravai says. “Basically, it will get us about half way to being totally built.”
Coun. Ron Kerr wanted to know if the budget being presented for the park’s construction had any contingency built in for “project creep and unknown things that pop up … because once you start digging there’s always something.”
Ravai says they have added between 10 and 15 per cent to all of their budgeted costs “to account for things that may not go exactly as planned.”
Drew Hadfield, they city’s director of operations, said the facility’s construction has staff’s approval, calling it “a very well written proposal,” and confirming the built-in budget contingency presented.
Council approved the request during its deliberations and it will now be included in the budget bylaw that will be presented for adoption Dec. 17.
Once the park is built, Ravai says, it will be handed over to the city – it’s on their property, after all – and the Bike Park Society will run events, help with maintenance and work with the city on any repairs that are needed as they come along.
Ravai says now that they have secured that major chunk of funding, they are ready to “just update the environmental paperwork for the spring” and should be in there starting construction as early as this coming March.
“It’s really exciting,” she says. “It’s been a long process, but it’s allowed us to do it right and the community will be better for it in the long run. We can’t thank the community enough for all its support.”