It's taken a little bit longer than hoped, but Whistler BMX will be opening its new park later this year.
The organization announced on Feb. 22 that two significant donations have helped to boost the project, which will consist of a racetrack and pump track at Bayly Park in Cheakamus Crossing. The Spalding Family Foundation, through the American Friends of Whistler, gave $20,000 while Gibbons Whistler provided $15,000 and pledged ongoing support to the project.
Another $35,000 of Resort Municipality Initiative funding has been proposed in the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) budget that is currently being put forth to residents for feedback. Council will vote on the budget in April.
Organizers have raised over $55,000 to this point, and though they are not entirely at their goal, are close enough to know they'll break ground on the project this spring. Spokesperson Dan Harmon said Whistler BMX would look to get the track built and operational as quickly as is feasible.
"It means we can start work. It means we can get in the ground as soon as the snow clears and it means we'll have a functional track by the summer," Harmon said.
"It depends on the ground and whether it's frozen," Jody Hallett, the organization's secretary and treasurer, said. "We should know more later... We're hoping for the end of April or the beginning of May."
Whistler BMX initially hoped to have the track built before the snow fell in the fall, but Hallett explained the project didn't suffer any major setbacks because of the delay. The tanking Canadian dollar boosted the cost of a start gate, which needed to be purchased from the U.S., but the plan was always to buy it in 2016.
"It was never going to be put in in the fall anyways," she said.
Whistler BMX will hold a fundraiser later this spring at the Longhorn Saloon. Harmon explained it's difficult to pin down an exact number of how much fundraising remains for the project considering how much work can be done through in-kind donations.
"Because of the type of work, the type of skills and services used to build a track, things like trucking dirt around or using machines on the site to move the dirt or manpower to shape the jumps and the berms, we know a lot of people that are willing to help with those things and give donations-in-kind, and we don't know, for example, how much trucking we're going to need to pay for," Harmon said. "I can't tell you right now that we need another $10,000 because we may have enough to do absolutely everything by the time everybody wakes up from winter and gets things moving on the site.
"The nature of managing a non-profit is there's always fundraising to be done. There's always something to raise money for (such as) working on programs to buy bikes to get more people into the sport."
In addition to welcoming those who are willing to donate the use of their heavy equipment like excavators or large trucks, Harmon said simple labour for the finishing touches will be much needed.
"Having people that are willing to come down for an afternoon and be given a shovel and a rake and be told 'Rake that, hit that with a shovel until it's nice and smooth,' that kind of help is needed as well," he said.
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