John English

John English

Proposed Lantzville park upgrades target mountain bikers

NANAIMO – The District of Lantzville is looking to build a new mountain bike skills park.

A new Lantzville park could give beginner mountain bikers a place to test their skills.

The District of Lantzville has put out a request for proposals to turn a community green space into its first mountain bike skills park.

The idea is to build a 2,000-square-metre skills circuit with a pump track, jump lines, log rails and a free riding area, to ramp up use of Rotary Park in upper Lantzville, and give beginner bikers a place to test their skills so they can make use of community trail systems.

There’s nothing like this in the greater Nanaimo area, according to John English, a member of Lantzville’s parks and recreation commission, who says while most parks and tracks are set up for those who know how to ride, this will cater to beginners and be family-friendly.

The equipment won’t be high off the ground, so kids will have a chance to learn and be challenged without being endangered, he said, pointing to places like Hinton, Alta., and Tofino as already having these kinds of skills parks.

“It fills a gap for our park and it fills a gap for our younger population,” he said.

Denise Haime, chairwoman of the parks and recreation commission, said the proposed skill circuit is about the community veering away from the traditional and capturing the interest of residents.

The park is underutilized and this would be a way to entice people to come out, she said.

“It’s fresh and it’s new and I think it’s what people are looking for,” she said.

Jenn McGarrigle, spokeswoman for Nanaimo Mountain Bike Club, called the idea great. Skills parks are a starting off point for new riders of all ages and a fun place for the more experienced ones, she said.

“It’s a good area to go to practise some basic mountain biking skills so that you’ll have more fun once you hit the single track,” she said, adding the club believes multiple skills parks in the community are important to further the sport.

“Skills parks like this definitely encourage new riders and attract them to the sport.”

The request for proposals closes Oct. 12.

The budget for the circuit is $39,000. The Rotary Park playground is also expected to be replaced as part of changes to the area.