Construction is currently underway for a $100,000 upgrade to a mountain bike park at Mount Work-Hartland.
It’s a boon for local and visiting cyclists, and for Saanich, as the 210-hectare trail system is the most ridden mountain bike park on the South Island and draws thousands of cyclists to Saanich for races and recreational rides every year.
The new technical training area will replace the existing one and will boast a series of features, such as flat-topped logs, and horizontal wooden ladders, all designed and laid out in a safe manner for cyclists who are new and intermediate to mountain biking. The height of each feature is low, whereas the same features are found at dangerous heights throughout the dozens of kilometres of black diamond mountain biking trails.
“The impetus to rebuild the training park is out of risk management, the pre-existing technical training area had logs and [features] that were breaking down and needed to be replaced,” said Mike MacIntyre, operations manager of Capital Regional District parks.
The park only takes up about two-thirds of an acre. The CRD is building it to International Mountain Biking Association standards and it should be reopened in July or August.
As part of the construction project, there is a 10-metre riparian zone buffer around Killarney Creek. Large tracts of invasive Scotch broom and blackberry have also been removed, and will be replanted with native species in the fall and winter.
A new kiosk with park information and a map of the trails will be installed to replace the existing one.
Regular riding continues to be permitted throughout the rest of the park.
Hundreds gathered at Mount Work-Hartland on June 19 for the final Island Cup XC series (cross-country) mountain biking race. On July 10 part of the trail system will be used for the Xterra cross-country triathlon, based at Durance Lake, and on July 23 and 24 the park will host a double-header Island Cup Enduro cross-country mountain biking race.