Millennium bike park needs support

Castlegar has the opportunity to become a hub for biking in the Kootenays.

Map of the proposed bike park design

The Castlegar Friends of Parks and Trails Society (CFPTS) is seeking funding partners for the development of a bike skills park in Castlegar’s Millennium Park.

As of now, more support is needed on management and planning levels.

“There’s no shortage of people who want to dig dirt and build jumps but as far as people who will write grants, talk to local businesses and find letters of support is more of what is needed right now,” said Mark Jennings, President of CFPTS and the lead of this project.

Jennings is hoping to get a committee together similar to what the rotary clubs  have for the covered concession up at the park.

“I’m looking for more support from a project management level. Maybe people who are retired, or just have certain skills they can bring to this project.”

The bike park was first identified in the Millennium Park master plan and three acres of land have been set aside for the biking area. Jennings said, when fully completed, it will be one of the biggest mountain bike parks in the West Kootenays for sure. “Maybe further than that, up to Revelstoke.”

Furthermore, the bike park can serve to bring in tourism and promote physical fitness.

The budget for the full park build is estimated to be $304,870. Jennings explained, “It’s not really that much money for this much land to be developed.”

His plan is to accrue $100,000 over the summer to help with funding the project and that number is becoming more of a reality as the days go by.

Just this week, the Castlegar Interact Rotary Club contributed $2,500 towards the CFPTS to help fund the project.  The city  has also contributed $13,000 towards the project. Additionally, $10,000 worth of raffle tickets were sold last summer and a bike was awarded to the winner.

Jennings is planning to roll it out in phases as he attempts to involve and develop the community at the same time.

He believes this project will fill in any age gaps currently present within the park.

“The ponds are more geared towards families with younger kids,” Jennings said, “but those families also have older kids and so this project is aiming to complete the picture at the parks.”

He explained that while the younger children can enjoy their time at the ponds, older  kids can spend time at the bike park.

“Over time we’ll start creating spots for the younger and even more advanced riders. In the short term we want to get the intermediate level areas first. So Joe Blow can take his bike and not feel like he’s in over his head.”

The need for support is stronger now than ever.

“This project is not going to happen without support. We’re on a strong footing, but we need that big push right now,, while everyone is setting out their year long budgets.”

If anyone is interested in joining Jennings on this project they can email him at mark.jennings7@gmail.com.

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