Central to SIMBS’s mission is acting to preserve and increase off-road cycling in South Vancouver Island -- and that means advocacy! SIMBS works with local, provincial, and national stakeholders to promote and expand access to off-road cycling in the region.
We organize campaigns to encourage the Capital Regional District to plan for mountain bike infrastructure, help guide the management plans for many of the region’s trail networks, and raise awareness of the ever-growing popularity of mountain biking in the region. By joining SIMBS and getting involved with these initiatives, you can ensure that we keep growing mountain biking on the South Island.
For many years, the Capital Regional District has overlooked the popularity and the positive benefits of our sport. If we come together, we can send them a unified message that we're here, we're engaged and we want to see real change!
Want more trails in Greater Victoria?
Here’s three things you can do:
- Join SIMBS as a member and encourage your friends to join. We dedicate huge amounts of time, effort, and resources to campaigning for mountain biking in the region, and our members are the ones who make it possible
- Every few months, contact individual CRD Directors or the Chair of the Board and tell them how important mountain biking is to you. The CRD Directors are your elected members and they have a duty to represent you. You can write to anyone on the board.
- Participate in surveys for park management planning when they open, and encourage your friends to do the same! There are currently three park management plans in progress at the moment: Mount Work (Hartland), Matheson Lake/Roche Cove and East Sooke Park.
Advocacy In Action
Hartland: here to stay, and better than ever
In 2020, after years of tireless advocacy work, SIMBS signed a historic license agreement with the CRD to ensure the future of mountain biking within Mount Work Regional Park. We're already starting to see the real-world benefits of this agreement: entire new lines under construction, features added to legendary lines, and a trail plan for the future of Hartland.
Mountain Biking Advisory Committee (MBAC)
The Capital Regional District (CRD) -- which manages parks like Mount Work and the Sea to Sea Regional Park, forming the backbone of local mountain biking -- has convened a Mountain Biking Advisory Committee to provide recommendations on how to better incorporate mountain biking into the regional park system.
SIMBS has a representative in this committee, who is relaying the feedback we've received from the community and advocating hard for new MTB opportunities throughout the region. Meeting minutes are available here. Plans for specific parks are out of the scope of the committee, but recommendations from the committee will drive the future of mountain biking in CRD parks.
Input from hundreds of SIMBS members was instrumental in the CRD forming this committee, and we view this process as being critical to the future of mountain biking in the Greater Victoria Area. The MBAC is going to forward recommendations to the CRD Board or the CRD Parks Board for approval in 2021. Watch for updates when this topic comes up! We will want to watch this topic closely and provide input to the board.
Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP)
CRD Environmental Services Staff met with SIMBS in late 2019 to discuss the Landfill 2050 expansion. They explained that we need more space in the landfill for waste, so blasting is needed. Due to the proximity of the landfill to the Hartland trails network, there will be impacts on the mountain biking community.
Short Term Impacts
The CRD has constructed a fenced area on the upper part of Who’s Yer Daddy and has been doing controlled blasting. There are closures that last a few hours, several times a week. Users are to follow the CRD’s Twitter account for updated schedules.
Long Term Impacts
In approximately 10 years, we will see the permanent loss of trails. This includes 4.6 km of trails including Who's Yer Daddy, Nightshift, and the Regional Trail not to mention a few sections of other trails, specifically Old Payoff and Trillium.
We have been calling on the CRD to come to us with a proposal to offset the loss of land and trails relating to the expanding landfill. In July 2020, we organized a letter writing campaign and 61 letters were submitted to the CRD board.
We are following up with the Board and staff to make sure your letters make it to the staff members engaged in this project.
We would like to see more riding areas in Greater Victoria and we're doing what we can to achieve that goal
Thetis Lake Management Plan
Thetis Lake Regional Park has been identified as a high priority for management planning. When this process is initiated (currently estimated for 2022 or 2023) the door will open to a discussion about specific opportunities for purpose-built mountain biking trails in that park. Currently the CRD is developing a new management plan for Mt Work Park, and SIMBS is engaging in stakeholder discussions and devoting maximum resources and time to this critically important advocacy objective.
- Historic License Agreement with Capital Regional District for Hartland/Mount Work Park, Signed in 2020
In 2020 SIMBS entered into a fair and equitable agreement with CRD to be stewards of the Hartland area of Mt Work Regional Park. This important agreement is the result of several years of negotiation between SIMBS and CRD. We could not have achieved this without the commitment and dedication of several current and past board members.
- Saanich Bike Park at George Tripp Substation
This park is located near the Lochside Trail north of Mackenzie near the Don Mann yard. It's currently a bit of a party spot. Saanich has signed an agreement with BC Hyro to renting the land for $1 for 5 years.
The Request for Proposal went live in October 2020. The initial allocated budget in 2019 was $167,000 and $100,000 was added in 2020.
- Topaz Bike Park in Victoria
This bike park has been included in a park management plan since 2017. Every year we have been writing letters and making presentations to call for a compelling amenity. There have been articles and media releases but not much has been done to move this forward in the past few years.
To our surprise, the Request for Proposal went live on BC Bid in October 2020. It includes the skatepark and bike park together. The bike park description is a pump track with some bike jumps. Designs were still pending as of December 2020.
For more information, follow Topaz Bike Club on Facebook.
- Cedar Hill Youth Park Amenity
In October 2020, Saanich approved the designs for Cedar Hill Park Management Plan. The design has a "youth amenity" included that would see something build near Finlayson Road. Saanich will be coming to the public for more input on what the amenity will look like.