North Bay City Council received a presentation requesting that the city invests in building a new piece of recreation infrastructure.
Marty Simard – a local father of a six-year-old boy – gave a presentation during the last regular meeting of council asking the city to build a Velosolutions pump track.
A pump track is a paved trail that features slopes and banks where riders use their body’s momentum and balance to navigate around.
According to Velosolutions’ website – the company that Simard is suggesting build the track, “as you get better the tracks are designed to provide more challenges for you with no changes to the construction. A feature that a 5-year-old can roll through can be used as a gap jump for a professional.”
Simard told the story of how he took his then-five-year-old son to Uxbridge’s recently-built pump track.
“My son was hooked for life, and so am I,” Simard told council, adding that “every minute” of the three-hour drive was worth it.
Simard pointed out that aside from Uxbridge, a majority of the pump tracks in Canada are in the western parts of the country. He suggested to council that should North Bay build one, it could attract people from around the province.
Simard indicated that if North Bay had a larger track than Uxbridge, then it could serve as a competition grounds. There is a Pump Track World Championship series that has seen Canadian competitors and stops during the tour’s short existence. Simard suggests building the track at or near the North Bay waterfront.
Simard says that the pump track in Uxbridge cost the city $350,000, with a portion of the money being raised through fundraising efforts. Simard asked for the city to foot the $500,000 bill for the pump track but suggested that the funds come from the Municipal Accommodation Tax which brought in around $1 million in its first year. He also suggested that ad space could be sold at the facility to bring in more revenue for the city.
After the presentation, Deputy Mayor Tanya Vrebosch brought up the past attempts for the city to build a skatepark, saying that the city had committed to its portion but the community fundraising efforts fell short. She wonders if the same people who were advocating for a skatepark would get use out of a pump track.
In response, Simard noted that the pump track would be able to serve more people as it can be used by “anything with wheels”.
Simard says that if council commits to building a pump track in the fall, it could be completed by Canada Day. He added that with the uncertainty of team sports due to the pandemic, it could provide a safer way for children to stay active.
Vrebosch said that the pump track ide will be brought forward to council during the budget process.