Mountain bikers in Saanich are about to get a new site to tune their skills, after council approved a new bike park.

B.C. Hydro has agreed to lease a one-acre piece of land between Lochside Drive and Borden Street for only one dollar— to be renewed every five years.

It’s something riders are excited about.

“I Think it’s a great opportunity to give people the chance to ride different areas— I have young children and it makes it big difference for them to ride in more of a bike park setting,” said Will Corbett, as he was gearing up to bike around Mount Work Regional Park.

Councillor Ned Taylor says it’s a response to increasing demand, and safety concerns.

“It’s clear there is a demand for recreational biking in Saanich. We’ve seen young people, adults, who have been building their own bike jumps in Saanich that aren’t suitable for that use… and now we are able to respond to that,” said Taylor.

Advocates say it’s a win-win.

“I definitely think going forward, with new sanctioned opportunities, that this sort of activity will decrease… we feel like the Victoria region has the demand to support at-least one or two more pretty big bike parks,” said Alon Soraya from the South Island Mountain Bike Society.

Though the project will mainly be focused at mountain bikers, Saanich is looking at some other options.

“It’s so great to have other attractions in the same area. So that for one, people who aren’t familiar with it can see it… and to develop that sense of community,” said Soraya.

The exact details are still being worked out, but other features being considered range from ropes courses to bouldering.

Shovels are aimed to hit the ground in 2020.

Julian Kolsut