The wheels are turning for a bike skills park in Salmon Arm.
Planning a bike park for Blackburn Park will begin in January, says Coun. Chad Eliason, a proponent of the idea.
During the city’s budget deliberations in November, Eliason successfully gained the support of the rest of council to put $10,000 towards a bike skills park.
“It will allow kids and others to work on their bike skills and provide a community amenity downtown that people can use and take the pressure off the skateboard park,” Eliason said.
Will $10,000 be enough?
“Not even close,” he says, “but it’s $10,000 for materials… just to get it off the ground. A BMX track would have been great, but it’s more for a niche rider and this will be for a wider range of use.”
He said he envisions a small pump track, “coast and glide and up and down bumps – little jumps – kind of an agility thing. And a nice flat spot for kids. Different types of hills and corners and berms; people can have fun and practise and jump. The goal is to encompass all skill levels.”
A BMX track for Blackburn Park was turned down on Dec. 12.
Shelley Desautels, BMX director with the Shuswap Cycling Society, requested support from Salmon Arm council for a one-year lease for a BMX track.
While council expressed appreciation for all her work, they decided that a temporary bike skills park would better match the long-term master plan for the park, and would get cyclists out of the skate park.
Council said if Sicamous has a spot for a sanctioned park ready, as Desautels had mentioned, she should go there because Salmon Arm currently doesn’t.
In the long term, Klahani Park was mentioned as a better possibility than Blackburn.
Eliason says a spot hasn’t been pinpointed for the skills park.
“Where all the dirt is, but we haven’t mapped out a location. We’ll need to talk to staff about it. I imagine it will start smaller and, if kids want it bigger, we’ll make it bigger. It does need a proper design. Some money might go to design, some to materials.”
He said the city will be working with the Shuswap Trail Alliance, the Salmon Arm Secondary mountain bike team, the Shuswap Cycling Club and, he hopes, the BMX people.
“Everybody can have some input – use the city money and volunteer time to build it.”
Eliason hopes the track will be ready by late spring or summer, if construction starts in the spring. But that’s just a guess, he says, as he’s never built one.