A group of North Van kids who spent their COVID-19 quarantine building a bike track in a city park ended up getting a crash course in civics.
Over the last several weeks, kids have been building the track in the wooded area between Sutherland Secondary and the Loutet softball park. But they were dismayed to see the track had been demolished this week by the City of North Vancouver.
“It's been so much fun watching it evolve - the engineering and hard work that has gone into it has been impressive, especially to the younger kids, who can actually manage riding the track,” said Shannon Nelson, who takes her grandkids on daily walks through the area. “So you can imagine our horror when we hiked into the woods today to find the track savagely upended, carefully built bridges smashed apart, and small jumps sledge hammered to mounds of loose dirt.”
At first they feared it was the work of vandals, but they later learned it was city workers who removed the guerrilla infrastructure.
The surprise left many of the kids heartbroken by the rubbishing of their hard work, Nelson said.
“Especially during this extraordinary time, when there is absolutely nothing else in the city for kids,” she added.
In a statement, city spokeswoman Connie Rabold confirmed the jumps had to go for the sake of the people riding them and for the environment.
“There were some trestles and pits which were quite rickety and presented concerns regarding vegetation loss, impact on tree roots when the area was disturbed, and quite close to the main trail causing additional safety concerns. City crews removed the unsafe structures and filled in the pits,” she said. “Cool idea, however jumps need to be built by professionals, sanctioned, and constructed to safety standards or they are a hazard to the riders and others in the area.”
The good news, Rabold added, is that the pump track at North Vancouver's Moodyville Park has reopened, and the city will soon be building a new trail, with the help of the North Shore Mountain Bike Association, in Greenwood Park, which will also be geared towards two-wheeled adventure types.