It’s been a while since the BMX track on Homewood Road saw tire marks on it.
In fact, local BMX racers have had to travel down to Cumberland to the home of the Coal Hills BMX club for quite some time to have access to a competitive track, despite Campbell River being home to riders who consistently compete at the national level.
But now there’s a group looking to change that and bring BMX back to Campbell River. In fact, two members of the executive committee of Coal Hills BMX are among that group and made a pitch to Campbell River city council Aug. 31 asking for the city’s support for the project.
Corby Johnson, president of Coal Hills BMX and operator of the Cumberland facility, along with Campbell River teacher and Coal Hills BMX coach Jason Kerluck, say there’s plenty of appetite from Campbell Riverites for a facility here.
They have formed the Campbell River BMX Association, which they say has support from Cycling BC, BMX Canada, as well as other Vancouver Island and provincial tracks. Many local families have also expressed an interest in being a part of it should there be a track located in town.
But they need a place to put it.
“Preferably somewhere central that can accommodate high-use and close to other recreational facilities,” Johnson told council. When questioned about how much land they’d need for a track and whether there were specific needs for the space, such as certain topography, Johnson said it would require “between three and five acres,” but that would include space for a parking lot. It wouldn’t have to have any specific topography, because BMX tracks are basically flat, with whatever jumps and other features being built up from the ground, unlike mountain bike tracks, for example, which generally need to be sloped from one end to the other.
Mayor Andy Adams asked whether they had any specific locations in mind.
“If I were king for a day, it would be at the Sportsplex,” Johnson said, “at the all-weather field in the ball area, but I also wouldn’t want to upset anybody.”
Mayor Adams asked Johnson and Kerluk whether the old location on Homewood Road could possibly be redeveloped for a new facility.
“It could be made to work,” Johnson said. “Other recreational facilities nearby would be better, but I certainly wouldn’t turn it down.”
Coun. Claire Moglove asked about how they would fund the creation of the track should the land be found to house it, to which Johnson said they would be “at the very beginning,” of the fundraising process, but added they have been in contact with we’ve numerous groups in the past in regards to possible in-kind donations of material and labour.
“Phase one is to determine a location so we can see what challenges we have in front of us,” Johnson says.
Coun. Ron Kerr says he, too, would be excited to see the creation of a BMX park in Campbell River.
“I think your timing is good, considering right now we’re looking at the creation of a Recreation Master Plan and doing research on that,” Kerr says, and invited the group to be involved in those discussions. “It’s definitely something that’s needed in the community.
Mayor Andy Adams says council will likely give direction to staff to add a line to the next financial planning session for discussion on the matter, “because it always takes money as well as land,” but that the city “will keep you posted, as I’m sure you will to us.”
He also commented on the group’s timing, as he was on-hand at the opening of the new Mountain Bike Skills Park at the Sportsplex just that morning, “so cycling is on the forefront today.”
Anyone interested in getting involved with the Campbell River BMX Association in any way is encouraged to contact them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org