Bike paths will be ride-worthy and youths will gain work experience thanks to a Government of Canada grant to the Nanaimo Mountain Bike Club.
The non-profit received $99,000 from the Canada-B.C. Workforce Development Agreement and hired nine full-time workers for its winter trail crew, according to a press release. The crew, which will work till the end of March, will acquire more than 450 hours of trail-building experience, as well as training in workplace hazardous materials, occupational first-aid and Foundations of Sustainable Trails principles.
Dana Wacker, club president, told the News Bulletin the organization has a trail management plan for the Doumont trail, with work done by volunteers. The majority of the youths’ work will involve following through with the remaining items in the plan.
“Some of those things include [trail] re-routes, places where there are really steep, nasty climbs up old deactivated service roads,” said Wacker. “They’ll be putting in new trail to make it easier to climb on a bike, as well as bringing the remaining trails that need to be brought up to [standards].”
She said additional work could then happen in other areas, including potentially Westwood Lake Park.
“Depends [if it] snows this year, but we’re hopeful that they’ll be able to accomplish a little bit of everything,” Wacker said.
Workers will have some “homework” when they aren’t working on trails, with resumé and interview training, and Wacker said some skills will be transferable.
“When we build trails, we build sustainable trails. How do we build a trail that will stand the test of time?” said Wacker, adding that the program will also build good work habits and teamwork skills.
The club applied for the money because work was becoming unwieldy, according to Wacker.
“We have such a vast trail network and up until this point, it’s been maintained solely on the backs of volunteers and … there’s a capacity challenge where the needs of the community are outweighing what we can produce as an organization,” she said. “The next big step for us is to find paid positions for these jobs and so this was an awesome opportunity.”