Monday, January 19, 2009

Vancouver Dirt Jump Park

It's strange to think that I woke up this morning knowing nothing about a potential dirt jump park yet I'll go to bed after witnessing unanimous Park Board support for just such an animal. I never, ever imagined that the City would do something like this. I'm excited that they're even thinking about it. Anyhow, a recap:

The meeting started at 7 and the Dirt Jump Park was pretty far down on the agenda. I was surprised that it was standing room only at the meeting, but there seemed to be a number of citizen-riling/enabling projects on the agenda.

First up was saving the hollow tree at Stanley Park. All the historical buffs were out in force and I never imagined that there would be a large group of people passionate about saving a really old tree. Their arguments made sense and everybody left happy. The hollow tree stays!

Next up was something about the semantics of changing the City Park sign by-laws. All the crazy anti-corporate environmentalists were out in force. It seemed to me the board is just trying to clean up the language of the by-laws but most people felt this was the slippery slope towards coke billboards replacing all the trees in Stanley Park and corporate naming rights for all the parks. So they postponed it and everybody left happy.

Next up was a new skateboard park in Kensington. The Community Center is using it as justification for a youth advisor/worker and a traffic barrier, but don't seem opposed to it in any other way. There were lots of skateboarders there and their voices were heard. The motion passed for a consultation into the new park and everybody left happy.

Finally was us. The Dirt Jump Park. Now, before you get too excited, the motion was just about creating a public consultation for the Dirt Jump Park, which is pretty much the first step in the process. The City guy outlined the basics of where it will be (down beneath the Burrard Street Bridge, between the bridge and the Planetarium) and some of the criteria that went into selecting the site. Then we heard from a couple of BMXers, including Jay Miron. I don't remember much of what the one guy said, but Jay was pretty interesting. He spent most of his 5 minutes talking about his past accomplishments and by the time he was done talking about those it looked like the board would have agreed to anything he said. They voted on the motion and it passed unanimously. Really. It was shocking. The appetite from the board for this sort of thing is amazing. This could be really positive for our sport. A couple of notes:

1) This seems very focussed on the BMXers to date. We, the mountain bikers, need to get a voice in their somehow.

2) Our voice shouldn't be too strong. Mountain bikers seem to screw things up and try to make everybody happy. I think if we can get a Jay Miron designed dirt jump park in the middle of Vancouver we should just let it happen. We don't need ladder bridges. We don't need skill centers. We need dirt jumps.

That's about it. Stay tuned. Get involved. This could be really cool.

And yes, everybody left happy.