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Councillors pumped up over proposed new sports track

$175,000 has been set aside in the 2024 capital budget for a cycling/skateboarding pump track
A pump track is a playground and training facility for bikes, skateboarders or scooter riders of all skill levels. Typically asphalted, the tracks are typically built in a loop with roller and berms.

A recent council meeting and presentation has set the wheels in motion for a cycling and skateboarding playground in Collingwood.

Jason DeHetre of Little Ed's Ski & Bike Shop in Collingwood came before councillors this week at a special council meeting to talk about a proposal for a pump track, ideally to be located at Legion Park. In the 2024 draft budget, $175,000 has been put aside for the endeavour through consultation with the town’s parks, recreation and culture department.

DeHetre also sits on the Collingwood Off-Road Cycling Advocacy Committee.

“We’re out trying to advocate for new places to cycle – new trails to be built and attractions for more youth to get on bikes,” said DeHetre.

A pump track is a playground and training facility for bikes, skateboarders or scooter riders of all skill levels. The tracks are often built in a loop with roller and berms and covered in asphalt.

“It helps build skills and confidence,” said DeHetre.

DeHetre said his group had been in talks with town staff about a location, with Legion Park being the best option in the group’s view. He noted building a pump track in town would support the town’s cycling plan and would make the area a destination for cycling enthusiasts.

Under the committee’s proposal, the track would be built in two phases: the first would be a 1,200-square-metre area with modular marine-grade wood construction to get the facility started quickly, which could eventually be moved elsewhere once phase two is completed. Phase two would see the area expanded to 2,200 square metres with an asphalt track with both a beginner and experienced track options. The asphalt track would be built to be a Union Cycliste Internationale qualified track to bring world races to town and allow local cyclists to train for world races.

DeHetre said his group is proposing the phased approach to make sure there’s an appetite in the community for such facilities.

“Before going all-in, we would start somewhere smaller so we can crawl before we can run,” he said.

The town’s parks, recreation and culture manager Dean Collver also provided some details to councillors on that process. He said the town had already been discussing expanding the town’s skate park on High St. when the proposal came in.

“When his group showed up, it fit really well with what we were imagining,” he said.

At Legion Park (470 Ontario St.), there is already a paved space, and the washrooms are slated to be replaced. Collver said the parks, recreation and culture master plan talks about the need to increase and enhance unstructured play in the community.

“As the community grows, that demand proportionally grows as well,” he said. “There’s opportunity for us to work with what’s there.”

If approved, there would be a procurement process through the town to purchase the facilities, however preliminary cost estimates are between $65,000 and $150,000, which DeHetre said could come from the town budget, grants and/or community fundraising.

Collver noted the pump track is currently included in the 2024 capital budget at a cost of $175,000.

“It’s a great idea. I like that it’s (proposed) for Legion Park, because we are planning to do work there,” said Coun. Deb Doherty.

“I would love to see this come to fruition,” said Coun. Steve Perry.

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Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen is an experienced journalist working for Village Media since 2018, primarily covering Collingwood and education.
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