The Oceanside BMX organization continues efforts to get their 2022 season going.
But vandals have been spoiling any progress they have made to get the Erik Goetzinger BMX Park in Qualicum Beach race ready.
“It’s disappointing,” said Katelyn Alexander, one of the volunteers of the club. “We’re a volunteer-based group and we’ve been working so hard to get the BMX season started. And every time we worked on the track, someone has either gone on it when our signs says it’s closed or somebody has been riding dirt bikes on it and ruining all the work that we’ve done. So our season is now a month behind because we can’t get the track ready.”
The club normally begins the season in mid-April. They hold their club events every Tuesday night.
The club was severely impacted by COVID-19. Last year they were able to host just a number of club events but missed out on the major races, a huge source of their funding to pay for the maintenance of the park.
“Whatever funds we get, and we do get some grants sometimes, we put it into the track,” said Alexander. “When it gets ruined we have to buy more. When our season is going, we sell stuff from our concession stands and that’s the only income the track has. So when we have to keep fixing things it cuts away from our budget.”
Vandals have painted graffiti on a moto shed and destroyed the bleachers with some of the wood removed and used to start fires on the site.
“People just keep ignoring the signs that indicate the track is closed and to stay away from certain sections,” said Alexander. “They’re ripping the signs down, they’re building jumps on it. It’s really frustrating.”
The rider staging area poles that separate the riders have been pulled out of their base, she said, with the start hill also full of graffiti.
“We have to paint over them because they’re painting profanities and inappropriate pictures,” said Alexander. “We have kids racing there.”
Alexander said the club lost majority of its volunteers due to COVID-19. A few devoted ones remain, she said, four to eight at a time that have come out to help on the track.
“We did a lot of work so it’s heartbreaking,” said Alexander. “When you spend so many hours then you come back and see all the work destroyed.”
Alexander indicated if they can’t get the track in racing shape, they might have to cancel events including the Vancouver Island Championships Series slated for July. She wants users to keep off the track if it’s wet due to rain and to avoid certain sections.
“It causes severe damage that needs to be fixed and harder to maintain,” said Alexander. “We want people to enjoy the track but please do not take motorized vehicles there. Respect the area. Take your garbage and don’t damage stuff.”
The club is now seeking financial help to repair the damages. It has sought funding assistance from the Oceanside Recreation Services Grants Program in the amount of $2,500.
Alexander is also inviting those interested in joining the Oceanside BMX to check their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/59121977165