Young riders test out a pump track at the Steve Smith Bike Park in Nanaimo. A pump track project is now being planned for Nanoose Bay. (Black Press file photo)

Young riders test out a pump track at the Steve Smith Bike Park in Nanaimo. A pump track project is now being planned for Nanoose Bay. (Black Press file photo)

Pump track proposed for former playground at Nanoose Bay Community Park

Project to benefit youngsters in the community

The former playground at Nanoose Bay Community Park will soon become a bike park.

The Regional District of Nanaimo is working with residents to build a pump track for youngsters in the park that once had playground equipment but was dismantled in 2016.

One of the proponents of the project, Kebble Sheaff, is an avid mountain biker who also owns Arrowsmith Cycle, and is pleased see the RDN moving ahead with the project.

Sheaff said they first made a proposal to the RDN in 2018 but it didn’t gain any traction as the district opted to create a small, fenced walking area for dogs in the park. It was hardly used. The Electoral Area E (Nanoose Bay) Parks and Open Space Advisory Committees decided to review the pump track proposal again and decided it to be a potential facility that could be a big benefit for children in the Nanoose Bay area.

“The park was a perfect place because Nanoose Bay doesn’t have a ton for kids,” said Sheaff. “It’s a perfect place for a little pump track. They’re pretty safe and they don’t take up a lot of room. They don’t require a lot of maintenance.”

The project would be a collaboration between the RDN and members of the community. Sheaff said volunteers will help build the facility. It will be partly funded by the RDN and through donations from business and individuals in the region.

A pump track, Sheaff explained, is a fun facility that features a series of bumps that are smooth and easy to navigate.

“The idea is you’re not pedalling,” said Sheaff. “You’re pumping your bike using the bumps and you’re pushing down the backside to maintain your speed or pick up your speed. It’s really a fun thing to zoom around. They’re not just for kids. They’re good for anyone to work on their mountain bike skills or any kind of bike skills. They’re not jumps, so they’re pretty low risk.”

Area E director Bob Rogers and manager of parks services Yann Gagnon endorsed the pump track which they hope can be completed this year.

READ MORE: Bikes for All project seeks $26K to promote cycling for youth in Parksville Qualicum Beach

“These parks are really popular and we’re expecting them in one of our parks as well as in Area H,” said Gagnon last month. “There’s a number of them throughout B.C. So we will see where it goes.”

Rogers mentioned the benefits this will give the students at the Nanoose Elementary School, which has a bike club supervised by Sheaff and his wife.

“Just before COVID, we had 96 signed for bike club in that school,” said Sheaff. “At that time it was a third of the school that was in bike club. It’s pretty awesome. So it will be a great thing to have because there’s already a little trail in the park. It would be really lovely to start the kids out with some kids riding the trails and others on the pump track. We can teach them some skills.”

Sheaff is looking for volunteers to help with construction of the track. He indicated Nanoose Bay Elementary School is considering sending some students to assist. He also expects members of bike clubs in Parksville and Nanaimo to volunteer their time.

“There’s going to be a ton of shovelling and smoothing of dirt,” said Sheaff. “I don’t know how many volunteers we need but if we can rope lot of people into it, that would be awesome.”

Anyone wishing to donate some dirt for the track, or volunteer to help, you can call Sheaff at 250-240-0653.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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Nanaimo Regional District