A community open house for the proposed Salt Spring Lions Commemorative Bike Park in Mouat Park took place on Sunday, March 25 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Salt Spring Island Lions Hall. The event was hosted by the Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Commission (PARC) to share information about the project and receive feedback from the community. Information on the planning process, environmental and technical assessments and a draft design proposal were available for public review and discussion. Members of the consultant team (Green City Builders and Lees and Associates), PARC staff, and two commissioners were in attendance. Two site tours at Mouat Park were also hosted by the project manager, Elizabeth FitzZaland (Green City Builders) earlier in the day at 11:30 am and 12:00 pm.
The event was advertised on the Salt Spring Exchange, the Gulf Islands Driftwood, Facebook and through the CRD’s website. Approximately 85 people attended the Open House and approximately twenty-five people attended the site tours. Most adult attendees and some underage attendees completed comments forms. A few people emailed comments after the event. This input is summarized below and, along with the verbal comments received at the Open House, will be used to direct the next phase of the project.
“We couldn’t be happier about the plans of having a family oriented bike park on the island! We are a family of very avid bikers and I’ve been quite disappointed as to how dangerous it has felt to bike on island with my 4 and 5 1/5 year olds. This Salt spring bike park will be an amazing addition to our community, as we have been going off island to Naniamo for a safe and accessible place for kids to ride their bikes. Lets keep our kids active and safe Salt spring!” – Jaya Genevieve (Mom of 2, yoga teacher at The Wellness Centre)
Comment Form Responses
Open house attendees were encouraged to leave written responses on comment forms. Fifty-five Community Open House attendees filled out comment forms, with an additional six people sending in comments via email to the CRD. Comments were received from many age groups:
- eight responses from people under 12
- 26 responses from 25-45 age range
- 10 responses from 46-65 age range
- eight responses from 66+ age range
- nine respondents declined to provide their age.
The comment forms collected feedback through a series of three questions:
1. What do you like about the proposed Draft Family Bike Park Concept?
2. Is there anything you want changed in the Draft Family Bike Park Concept?
3. Please provide any other comments in the space below or on the reverse side of this page
“As a parent of two active kids, I am thrilled about the prospect of a bike skills park. Having more recreation opportunities for kids and youth on island makes sense on so many levels and benefits not only the health and well-being of kids and families using these spaces but the community as a whole. Mouat’s Park seems an ideal location as it is centrally located on island, has ample parking and is already an established ‘urban’ park that is used for other recreational purposes. I look forward to when the bike lanes get built along Lower Ganges road and we can ride safely with our kids from Portlock Park to the new bike skills park in town!” – Kiran Dhingra (Mom of 2, Executive Director SWOVA)
General Response to the Proposed Concept
The majority (55) of responses were supportive of the Family Bike Park Concept. Many commenters indicated that they like the design, the variety of trails, that it is a safe learning environment for kids and that the natural environment is considered in the design. Many commenters stated that the proposed concept was a good use of park space.
Concerns with the Proposed Concept
Six commenters expressed concerns about the concept, with four commenting that they strongly disagreed with or disliked it. The most common concerns expressed were that the location was not appropriate for a family bike park and that such a use will put pressure on the parking facilities in the park. A few commenters also expressed concern for potential expansion beyond the proposed location and crowding in the park. One commenter expressed concerns about connectivity through the park. Another expressed concern that the concept is dangerous for small children. Two commenters felt that there had not been enough consultation with current park users, especially dog walkers.
Suggested Changes to the Proposed Concept
Most commenters did not suggest any changes to the draft concept. Several (9) comments indicated that would like to see the bike park expanded, either now or in the future, or raised the possibility of a second park somewhere else on the island. Three commenters provided more technical feedback on changes to the park setup and types of installations possible in the area such as more jumps or relocating certain elements within the park. One suggested the installation of a bathroom, while another suggested the installation of more seating benches.
“I am super excited for the opportunity this project presents for our kids! The confidence and focus sports like cycling help develop in kids are a huge asset to them as they mature. Perhaps they will end up cycling in more urban environments with the skills needed, or perhaps continuing coastal BCs tradition of creating elite level mountain bikers. The more kids we can get out enjoying recreation in natural settings the more defenders of public lands we will have as they grow up. I am so hopeful to be able to take my daughter here to help her hone skills that will make her a more confident and focused child. Access to outdoor recreations opportunities for children will help ensure we have a future generation vested in the protection of public lands. I could go on all day about how important mountain biking and outdoor sports were to me as a kid(and grownup) in calming my mind and becoming physically confident.” – Zack Hemstreet (dad of two and co-owner/farmer Bullock Lake Farm)
Where respondents left additional comments, the majority were positive. Eight people expressed their thanks for the organizers of the project. Nine people commented that the project was either long overdue or that they were excited to use the Family Bike Park. Another 15 expressed their strong support of the project in general terms.
There were some concerns raised in the general comments, one related to how injuries were going to be handled, and what sort of garbage collection was going to be in place. Two commenters expressed concerns about the tree removal that had already taken place.
“My take on it is how great it is to see kids out playing in nature ~ anything that gets them outdoors and exercise is a win.” – Trish Bielicki (mom of two, owner of Harlan’s)
Review All the Open House Boards – Click Boards for Larger View
Review All the Open House Boards – In PDF Format
View Concept Plan – Click Board for Largee View
View Concept Plan – In PDF Format