“We just want somewhere to ride”

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Nicky Beatty and Chris Burdett will go just about anywhere to find a BMX bike park to try, but the Wyoming teens would rather stay at home.

The pair, who travel to Sarnia, Watford and as far away as Toronto to bike, was among the crowd of 18 teens and pre-teens – and a handful of adults – who came out to tell Plympton-Wyoming Council what they would like to see in a skateboard/BMX bike park Monday night.

Town council has already set aside $40,000 for the project, but Councilor Ben Dekker says they have been “struggling with where to put it.” The Lions Club is interested in being part of the project but would like to see Bowling Green Park used. It, says Deputy Mayor Don Nelson, is in a high visibility area and there is room behind an existing building to create a park.

But some residents didn’t like the idea. Eric Steele lives on Zone Street and watches the teens bike on a ramp they have built on his street. He’s worried for their safety with cars on the road. But he’s not convinced Bowling Green Park would be a better option. “It’s too close to the railway and to close to the highway, it’s not safer.”

The teens told council McKay Park, specifically the tennis courts, would be their location of choice saying a hard surface would be great for bikers and skateboarders.

“It would be nice if it was at McKay Park but it doesn’t matter,” Burdett told The Independent after the public meeting. “We just want somewhere to ride.

“It is really tiring because we ride all over town and no matter where we go, someone complains,” he told council.

The bikers also told council they would be willing to help design a bike park and say something similar to the park in Aamjiwnaang would be perfect.

And Burdett says they would be willing to raise money to help pay for it as well. “We could hold a fundraiser,” he says, by attracting other bikers to the new park to raise money for more equipment.

The teens’ biggest concern was when the park might be built. Councilor Dekker admitted the decision making process is “slow” at municipal councils but the teens could move things along by helping the Parks Board with the project. “There is a Parks Board meeting on Nov. 7…put something together on what you want (for equipment). The more work you do on that, the better it is going to go.”

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