British Columbia

Kids celebrate after Vancouver bike park saved

Dozens of neighbourhood children flock to makeshift bike track each day; after it was initially going to be removed, the Vancouver Park Board says it will work with parents to ensure it stays intact — and safe.

Dozens of neighbourhood children flock to makeshift bike track each day

Ezra Milford, 11, gets some air off one of the ramps that has been placed in a drained wading pool at Grays Park in the neighbourhood of Kensington-Cedar Cottage. (Jesse Johnston/CBC)

It might be one of the smaller bike parks in B.C., but the dozens of kids who take to the plywood ramps and dirt mounds are riding high after a big victory.

A makeshift bike park at East Vancouver's Grays Park has been frequented by crowds of kids ranging from toddlers to teenagers since the start of the pandemic.

But the attraction recently caught the attention of the Vancouver Park Board. City staff deemed a pump track — a bike course made up of berms and mounds of dirt — unsafe and had planned to start removing it Thursday.

However, after a public outcry from kids and parents, staff confirmed with CBC News it will be working with parents from the community to ensure the park stays intact — and safe.

"The director of the parks board came to visit us [on Wednesday], which was great because he told us we can keep it," said Michelle Woods, a parent of three whose kids visit the park regularly.

A young rider cruises over the pump track that was slated to be dismantled by the Vancouver Park Board. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

"The next stage will be working with city planners to see what we can do in this space to make it so much bigger and then also safer for everybody in the park to use," she said.

Riders rejoice

It didn't take long for word to get around the neighbourhood as a crowd of kids took to the dirt mounds to celebrate the special occasion.

Malina Haras jumps from an emptied pool at the makeshift bike track in Grays Park. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

"The first thing i did was yell 'hooray!'," said 12-year-old Malina Haras. "We started riding around and we told all our friends, told them to tell their friends, told everyone we know to come and ride as long as they want."

Haras said the kids weren't ready to go down without a fight.

Signs reading, "Leave our pump track and jumps alone!" and "Don't take away our fun!" were nestled against a bush on Thursday, prepared to be wielded had park officials started removing the mounds.

Young cyclists race on the pump track at Grays Park in Vancouver earlier this week. The park board has decided not to dismantle the jumps and bumps, according to parents. (Jesse Johnston/CBC)

"We decided that we would start a petition to try and stop this, but knowing now that the city has decided not to destroy it, it's made us all really happy," said Haras.

"Most people are going to start riding a lot more."

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