British Columbia

District of Saanich makes deal with BC Hydro to create its first skills bike park

The District of Saanich on Vancouver Island has made a deal to build a new youth-focused bike skills park on a piece of surplus BC Hydro land.

'There is a real strong demand in the community for this kind of recreational facility'

Mountain biking enthusiasts in Saanich, B.C., on Vancouver Island will soon have a new location to practise skills like jumps and drops. (Paul Karchut/CBC)

The District of Saanich on Vancouver Island has made a deal to build a new youth-focused mountain bike skills park on a piece of surplus BC Hydro land.

The district hopes to begin construction in early 2020 next to the Lochside Regional Trail that runs from the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal in Sydney to Victoria. 

"There is a real strong demand in the community for this kind of recreational facility," Saanich Coun. Ned Taylor told Gregor Craigie, host of On the Island.  

"We've been seeing bike jumps and bike trail riding happening in other parks where it's not really suitable for that."

Taylor says some riders are damaging sensitive natural environments including streams, tree roots and soil. Creating a specialized location for practising skills like going over jumps and drop-offs will take the pressure off other parks.

Some mountain bike parks offer challenging routes like this A-Line mountain bike trail in Whistler, B.C. The design of a new park in Saanich on Vancouver Island has not yet been determined. (Whistler Blackcomb/YouTube)

The new bike park site is located at the north end of the George Tripp substation between Borden Street and Lochside Drive. BC Hydro will allow Saanich to use the property for a fee of $1, and the deal is scheduled for renewal every five years, according to Taylor.

Hydro has no plans to use the land which is one acre in size and is currently overgrown by vegetation. 

"It's a good deal for the community. We're able to put our resources into the park to make sure it's a quality bike park and to make sure that we can maintain it for years to come," said Taylor. 

Saanich city council approved development funding for the park in its 2019-2023 financial plan. Details for the park have yet to be finalized. 

With files by On the Island

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