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City consults with youths on changes to Jumbo Gardens BMX track (3 Photos)

Safety concerns were raised after users modified the track without permission

THUNDER BAY — Concerns about unapproved modifications being made by users of the city's only BMX dirt track have resulted in a meeting between the city and a group of youths, in an effort to find a solution.

More experienced BMX riders find that the track, located on Pioneer Drive, isn't challenging enough for their skill level.

After incidents over the past month that saw people dig up the track to make their own jumps and other modifications, the city posted signs, warning riders they could face fines up to $5,000 for damaging city property.

The city was also looking at implementing security patrols at the park to catch violators in the act.

However, the signs included an invitation to users to reach out to discuss the possibilty of alterations to the park.

Cory Auger, coordinator of park services for the city, says a meeting will be held this week to discuss options.

In an interview on Wednesday, Auger explained that the youths would like a more advanced track, including higher jumps.

"When they were doing it on their own, they weren't doing it properly," he said, which posed a risk to safety.

"There's a lot of small kids that use it too. They'll go with their parents, and some of the parents have raised concerns about some of the alterations that were being done."

No firm decisions have been made yet on how to proceed, but Auger said there's an option to convert an unused part of the park to meet the needs of higher-skill riders.

The existing course would stay intact. 

Auger hopes the youths will be involved in building the new track.

"I think it will probably be volunteers, with our direction.  We have gone in the past with machinery if we have to bring in material, but we really feel that they can do a big part of it. It will be a lot to do with them," working by hand, he suggested. 

With the discussions with the youths pending, the plan to implement security patrols has been put on the shelf.

 "We've made kind of a breakthrough, which is great," Auger said. "They sound like a young group of guys that are there every day. We want to work with them."

Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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