By Andrea Arnold
Members of the Valemount and Area Recreation Development Association (VARDA) have created a small committee to work towards bringing a pump track and all-wheels skills park to Valemount.
On Tuesday August 22, Sean Kelly presented Project Pump it up on behalf of VARDA to Council. He said they are exploring the feasibility of having such a facility within the village, to complement the existing infrastructure. The park would allow for not only bikes, but would include wheelchairs, scooters, skateboards and other wheeled modes of transportation, ridden by all ages. He said that by creating an area where riders can work on skills in a safe environment before hitting the trails, some accidents and injuries may be avoided.
He personally has experienced the feeling of community that comes out of these parks.
“I’ve experienced these facilities all across the country, from Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and BC, and they are amazing facilities,” said Kelly.
He said there are already 30 parks in BC that vary in size, complexity and base material. “Skills parks and pump tracks are one of the fastest growing municipal pieces of infrastructure that are being built in North America right now,” said Kelly. “Second to pickleball courts.”
Kelly said the material for a park in Valemount would be decided following a location being determined and community members would have the opportunity to provide input on the final design. He showed examples of other parks and explained that the materials used are low-maintenance materials.
Kelly presented on behalf of an Ad hoc special project committee of VARDA consisting of seven members, with existing terms of reference. They have already completed one fundraiser and done a survey. They are hoping to determine initial feasibility by the end of 2023 and will be exploring what grants they can apply for to help fund the project.
Kelly closed his presentation by asking for support and some input from staff regarding possible locations. He then asked for questions. Councillor Pete Pearson said he thought the project looks interesting and thanked Kelly for explaining the all-wheeled aspect.
Councillor Mulyk said he feels like the park is a good fit, a natural progression. He sees it as something that could be really good for locals. Working to encourage the younger residents more involved in the sport.
Kelly interjected that these types of parks do not require expensive bikes, allowing more riders to participate.