Sean Kelly points to the initial engineering design of the pump track facility at a recent fundraiser. /LAURA KEIL

By Abigail Popple, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG

Project Pump It Up has earned nearly $10,000 ahead of its application to the Northern Development Initiative Trust Community Places Grant.
An ad hoc committee of the Valemount Area Recreation Development Association, Project Pump It Up aims to create community spaces for wheeled sports such as cycling, skateboarding, and roller skating. The first project is an all-wheels park and pump track, explained committee chair Sean Kelly. The park would be open for cyclists, skateboarders, and scooter users, along with other wheeled sports hobbyists. He hopes that such a space would foster community connections and provide more opportunities for Valemount residents to access outdoor activities.
Reception from the community has been positive, Kelly said.

“They’re such community spaces, and I think a lot of people are seeing the value that they would bring to Valemount.”

Kelly’s co-chair, Maggie Inrig, agreed. The pump track will provide Valemount residents with the opportunity to exercise, she said, but will also be a boon to tourism in the Village.

“It’s an all-ages, all-skill park, so it’ll be fairly accessible,” she said. “It increases health benefits for residents, but also is a tourist attraction, so it has multi-purpose benefits.”

Pump It Up organizers held their first fundraiser on January 6 in the form of an entertainment night and silent auction, with performers providing live music and comedy. The project raised $6,000 that night alone, Kelly told The Goat. At the subsequent fundraiser on February 9, the Project raised $3,000.

“Some grants require 20 or 30 per cent of what you’re [applying] for,” explained Kelly.

He added that VARDA has contributed money so that Pump It Up could apply to the aforementioned NDIT grant, which would total $23,000.
Pump It Up has also been supported by the Village Council, Kelly said. At the February 13 Village Council meeting, Council approved a motion to support Pump It Up’s application to the NDIT grant.

Next up on the committee’s fundraising plans is a raffle for an e-bike scheduled for early spring, organized jointly with the Valemount Volunteer Fire Department, said Kelly. The raffle will be announced on the VARDA Facebook page, along with any future fundraising events.

On top of fundraising efforts, the committee is soliciting sponsorships from corporate or individual donors – these sponsors will have their name put up on a board in the park, said Inrig. She explained that interested parties can reach out to [email protected] to discuss sponsoring the project.