Track services

Belleville inaugurates the BMX pump track

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The Mayor, Council and City staff were thrilled to join Transition Bike Parks Inc. as they broke ground on the first phase of the new BMX pump track at West Riverside Park this morning.

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This project was designed as part of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan process to address activity gaps in the community.

“We spent so much time this quarter working on the landscaping,” Belleville Mayor Mitch Panciuk said. “COVID has really made us appreciate our outdoor spaces, and especially our gardens, our paths, our parks and all the things we do outside.”

The first phase of the project is the part of the BMX pump track which should be completed by the end of the year. Phase two will involve the construction of beginner and advanced skill centers with shelter, utilities, lighting, trails and site amenities, and phase three will involve a risk assessment of the existing bike park and perimeter fencing.

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Next to Panciuk was the counselor. Chris Malette and the advisor. Tyler Allsopp. Allsopp has been credited with spearheading the pump track project and attributes it to one of the reasons he entered public service.

“When I started to get involved in the city, it was precisely because of this lack of cycling infrastructure. There were no bike lanes, no off-road bike lanes, no dirt jumps or pump tracks,” Allsopp said. “I can’t wait to see and ride this pump track when it’s finished later this fall and I’m so grateful to everyone who helped make it a reality. It’s a dream I have since the age of 12.”

During his speech, Allsop recounted his youth as he rode around town with his older brother looking for spots to perform tricks on their bikes. The landscape was very different from what it is today, with skateboarders and bmx riders seen more as a nuisance than a community.

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“As we started to find these spots, we also found something else. We found other children looking lost, rolling or skating, often alone, hurling themselves with their bikes and boards down the stairs at the search for what exactly we were. We weren’t alone, we had a community,” Allsopp says. “When you’re doing less traditional sports or hobbies or you don’t quite fit in. If your community doesn’t provide the infrastructure for you to participate, you may feel isolated.”

But now with a fully equipped skatepark and a soon-to-be-built pump track, Allsopp has helped lay the groundwork for the isolated youngsters the city now has its back.

“No matter who you are, how old you are or whatever it is you are interested in, get involved in Belleville, Ontario, we want to hear from you. We want to work with you to improve our community,” Allsopp said. “This is just one example of what can happen when you are willing to step up and share your ideas. Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll find yourself at the unveiling of something you sketched in your high school notebooks and modeled in clay next to your bedside table.

Residents are encouraged to stay tuned to the project page, accessible at www.belleville.ca/en/learn-and-play/park-upgrade-riverside-park-west.aspxand the City’s social media channels for future project updates.

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