The possibility of a new track for the Penticton BMX Club is shifting into gear.
President Andrew Bayston said the club has the support of people who have offered to build a new track with donated time and materials, which will help control costs.
“Now is the time for the club to be able to rebuild it,” said Bayston, who presented new track plans to city council Jan. 19. Bayston discussed the proposal with specifications and other details, while answering questions.
“It was great,” said Bayston. “A lot of excitement with council members asking questions.”
Among the questions was when they would hold events, especially national competitions that take place in the shoulder season, which brings huge economic benefits for the city.
“Economic benefits were well-received. They are trying to promote Penticton as a cycling community,” said Bayston. “We’re the first step for kids on the small bike.”
Mayor Andrew Jakubeit and his council agreed this is something they want to move forward with. Jakubeit, without committing any land yet, said city staff will look at different options to find the right location.
“They are not overly picky, but do like the location at Riverside Park,” said Jakubeit. “There is a few other locations. A lot of the kids that hang out and race and use the track are kids that bike directly there. We can’t locate it way up in the middle of Carmi or on the outskirts of town. Kids need to be able to ride there on a Saturday and hang out for a few hours, have fun, and ride safely back home.”
Jakubeit also mentioned that the city was approached by the Penticton Area and Cycling Association a year ago about building a bike skills park. It was suggested that maybe the two organizations could work together. Jakubeit said track discussion could return to council on Feb. 16. Depending on how things move along, a new track could be created for the start of a new season beginning April 1.
Last fall, Bayston said the club is not happy with the current site of the track at Lion’s Park. There are nearby residents who complain about dust and noise. He added with a larger track they can attract more riders from other areas.
“Once you have that calibre of track, there is up to 1,000 riders plus family coming to town,” he said in a previous interview with the Western News.
The club’s membership grew to 70 last season from 35 the year before.