Cycle Alberni is raising funds to replace a series of bicycles stolen from Wood Elementary School.
Wood School purchased a class set of bicycles back in 2017 so that students could learn cycling skills and road sense while going on class rides.
The bikes were stored at the city-owned Echo Park Fieldhouse. Sometime around the week of April 6, a break-in occurred at the fieldhouse and 10 bikes—as well as pumps, tools and safety equipment—were discovered missing.
Willa Thorpe, the city’s manager of parks, recreation and heritage, said the city is actively working with the RCMP to try and recover the bikes. A pressure washer was also stolen, but that has since been recovered. The bikes are not covered under the city’s insurance, as each user group must carry their own insurance for storage rooms.
Shawn Bourgoin, manager of recreation services with the City of Port Alberni, confirmed that video footage from the area has been sent to the RCMP for investigation.
Cycle Alberni is hoping the bikes will be recovered, but in the meantime they have started a campaign to raise $8,000 to replace the missing bikes.
“In order for the classes to bike again this spring we will need to get the bikes back or replace the bikes,” said Cycle Alberni spokesperson Sarah Thomas.
Thomas says if the bikes are recovered, any funds raised will go towards furthering the bike program, supporting more school rides and expanding the fleet of bicycles at other schools.
If anyone wishes to donate a large youth bike or small adult bike in good working condition to the school, send a picture of the bike to firstname.lastname@example.org.
City councillor Helen Poon kicked off the fundraising campaign with an $800 donation.
“I am proud to be the city appointed liaison to Alberni Valley Transition Town Society,” she noted in a Facebook post. “One of their initiatives is Cycle Alberni which provides bicycle education and infrastructure – this includes providing a class set of bicycles to local schools to teach Grade 5 children about safely operating and maintaining bicycles as well as using them for exercise and commuting. I believe that these are important skills for all to have.”
You can donate to Cycle Alberni by visiting the Alberni Valley Transition Town Society website at www.avtransitiontown.org.
Cycle Alberni is asking anyone with information about the break in to contact the Port Alberni RCMP at 250-723-2424. The bicycle brand is Rocky Mountain Soul and the bikes all have Ozzie’s Cycle stickers on them, as well as a number written on the top tube.