If you want to ride the BMX track this summer, it’s time to take action.
That was the message from the supporters of Whistler BMX (WBMX) at its public meeting and information session last Thursday evening (Jan. 15) at the Whistler Public Library. Plans are in the final stages of approval from Municipal Hall, with all efforts now rallying around raising funds.
“The biggest hurdles have been met,” said track director and WBMX founding member Brian Finestone. “Once the word gets out of what this is and who it’s for, I think people will materialize to support it. Eighty thousand dollars, after we’ve already raised $50,000 in donations, is not that much.”
With the RMOW granting a sizable area at Bayly Park as the site for the track, the cost of construction is estimated at $132,000. With a donation of $34,000 from the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation to cover the cost of the start gate and the RMOW committing to $18,000 of in-kind donation of dirt and trucking, $80,000 remains on the balance sheet for asphalt on the start and finish zones, drainage and irrigation, landscaping, equipment rental, a moto shed for hosting events and a shipping container for storage.
The club will need to raise the outstanding funds in the coming months if it intends to have the track ready to ride and host races by this summer.
“The toughest thing is commitment,” said Finestone, of gathering volunteers for the project. “Everyone has great ideas, but taking those ideas assigning them to people and turning an idea into a list of tasks and action items, that’s planting the seed and seeing what grows from it. Really now what I’m hoping is that we have some momentum so we can move the bar on this thing and start making some money for it.”
Finestone believes that a BMX track in Whistler will be beneficial to the community for a number of reasons. It will attract tourism to Whistler to compliment the already strong draw of mountain biking and the track can go on to host regional and national level events, as well as integrating Whistler into the already bustling BMX scene in the Sea to Sky Corridor alongside the tracks in Pemberton and Squamish. In addition to serving as another bastion of community recreation, the skill development that young BMX riders experience on such tracks could help build the next generation of downhill and cross-country mountain bike racers.
“Whether you’re a road rider and it’s helping your sprints, a mountain biker and it’s helping your bike handling or if you’re a dual slalom or four-cross rider snapping gates, it all goes hand in hand,” said Finestone. “If there’s any doubt (that BMX helps those skills), just look at the highlight reel of Crankworx last year and look at the mountain bikers coming from BMX or the BMXers making the crossover.”
The board members of WBMX are now reaching out to the community for donations of all kinds; cash towards the fundraising goal, use of earth-moving equipment, carpentry skills and materials, administration, as well as video and editing work for a potential crowd funding campaign.
If you are able to contribute email the club at email@example.com or for more information visit the Whistler BMX Facebook page.