Bike park needed for youth in Errington

Residents propose to build it near Memoral Park

Errington residents want a biking park in their community.

Robin Shackleton and Lane Franklin appeared as a delegation at the Regional District of Nanaimo Electoral Area F Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee meeting recently to pitch their idea.

They proposed that a mountain bike park be constructed within the Errington Community Park. Shackleton said there is an open space adjacent to the park — formerly a baseball field — that is no longer used.

He said it could easily be transformed into a bike park.

The reason the residents want this, Shackleton said, is to provide youth a place where they can hang around and enjoy riding their bicycles.

“At present they are riding their bikes in the parking lot of the Errington Store,” Shackleton explained. “It is a safety issue and also (a park) would prevent potential conflicts with people that go to the store.”

Shackleton said the nearest designated biking facilities are located at the Community Park in Parksville and in Qualicum Beach.

“They are too far away from where we are,” said Shackleton. “The youth needs to have one close by and the old baseball park is an ideal location for it. Parks evolved. This baseball field was well-used in the past but now it’s no longer being used.”

The proposed bike park would be an adjunct to the existing proposal to design a playground for younger children. It would attract older youth ages 12 to 18 years old. Shackleton said it should be able to accommodate young and older cyclists.

“I am in my 40s and I love to ride my bicycle,” said Shackleton. “I definitely would use it.”

The proposed bike area would be an “L” shape, taking up a perimeter corner of the location. It would be a raised area with various jumps and hollows and made of natural elements e.g. earth and rocks, with no wood structures.

Lane Franklin is with the Errington Memorial Hall, which oversees the Errington Memorial Park for the RDN. He said that the community has a healthy volunteer base that supports the bike park proposal. Youth, he added, expressed interest in helping out.

A cost of $15,000 was suggested as an initial funding target and Frankling told the committee there are grants available for park and trail developments.

The committee determined that a plan overviewing all of the proposed improvements to the park needs to be developed and it would require the services of a certified designer, proposed funding, along with how the works could be maintained and overseen in the future.

The Committee of the Whole on Tuesday endorsed the committee’s recommendation that a bike skills park be included in future development plans for the Errington Community Park.