Letter to the Editor: BMX group asks city to bear track reconstruction costs

Dear Mayor and Councillors,

We would like to respectfully address the upcoming rebuild of Cranbrook BMX track that will be required. The City of Cranbrook Council made a decision to allow KEYSA to construct a dome within a part of our Land use area within our License of Occupation, therefore requiring us to have to reconstruct the Cranbrook BMX track. As the track has only just been constructed and a rebuild would not otherwise be required, we are seeking clarity to who will be Financially responsible for the costs involved with the required rebuild.

We would like to formally request, based on the above noted decision that the City of Cranbrook be financially responsible for the rebuild of the Cranbrook BMX track, providing in kind services, materials, equipment and the staff that will be required to rebuild that track. Alternatively, the City of Cranbrook Council may also instruct KEYSA to be financially responsible in part or whole for the Cranbrook BMX track to be rebuilt, with the City of Cranbrook providing in kind services of equipment and material.

We feel that this financial burden should not be the responsibility of Cranbrook BMX as the decision for us to have to rebuild is for the benefit of another user group that will be profiting from their business activities. This does not benefit the City of Cranbrook in whole, only select users who choose to pay for the use of the KEYSA facility.

In several previous council meetings, it was stated by councillors and I quote “that the Cranbrook BMX club should not be responsible for the cost to move or rebuild” as this was a decision made by the City of Cranbrook Council.

The revenue our group has generated over the past 2 years, has gone directly to the construction of the Cranbrook BMX track through donations from local businesses and residents, in kind services and through fundraising efforts. As we are a unique sports venue, not a “brick and mortar” building but an open park as well as a new sport to the area, we have not been successful in qualifying for conventional grants. The few grants that we have successfully qualified for have gone toward improving the track over time, running our weekly race and safety programs and hosting large events such as our Season opener.

In order to qualify for certain grants discussed in the previous City Council meeting (ie: Columbia Basin Trust Grant funding) we must first secure over 30% of the amount required for a rebuild. We do not currently have these funds secured. Neither Cranbrook BMX or the City of Cranbrook Council can speculate or rely on funds that are not guaranteed moving forward, this would possibly leave us with no funding to rebuild at all.

As we are working hard to continually improve the park and programs that run within it, this financial burden would be devastating. It would also affect the many residents that use the Cranbrook BMX track outside of our regular program as the Cranbrook Track is an open to the public park. The Cranbrook BMX track adds value to our City as well to the overall well being of resident giving options outside of conventional sports at no cost. BMX racing itself is an Olympic sport, growing in popularity as it is an all age inclusive sport. This unique volunteer run sports venue should be viewed as a sports venue and community park not just piles of dirt.

We appreciate the City of Cranbrook Council working with us as this decision and project has impacted not just the two user groups involved but the community in whole.

Sincerely,

Laura Niehaus

Cranbrook Bike Skills Park Society, President

Cranbrook BMX Track Operator

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