Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Renegade Builders Test City's Patience

New addition to 'Dirt Camp' is a maze of narrow wooden trestles

Just across from the CN railway tracks near the North Toronto Sewage Treatment Plant is an area known amongst the local biking community as DJs or Dirt Jumps. This is an area where earthen jumps and berms have been constructed. It's a popular place with many users. Just north of DJs is another location known as the Dirt Camp. This area is filled with wooden ramps and jumps which are used by BMX cyclists for stunt riding.

When the Crothers' Woods Trail Management Strategy was released in 2007, these places were designated to be eventually closed down. The city recognizes that there is no real alternative to these facilities nearby so there has been an unspoken agreement that these would be left alone until something else was available. There was also a tacit agreement that these areas would not be expanded.

However, this spring, a whole new section was added to the Dirt Camp that effectively doubled its size. The new area includes an intricate network of skinnies and jumps that would challenge even expert riders. In addition more structures have been added to the original area. While all of these built structures are illegal (the relevant bylaw clauses are 608-7 and 608-14), the city was willing to look the other way for awhile. These new builds appear to have aggravated the situation.

Another view of the new section

The build has sparked a lively discussion amongst the biking community about whether the new build should be kept or removed. This appears to be moot since the city has decided to act according to this letter.

Removing these stunts may be an easy short term fix but it won't affect the long term solution which should be a city managed stunt park that is acceptable to the biking community. Unfortunately, there are people out there who like to build and if this place is torn down it is likely they will just move to some other location.

Original 'Dirt Camp' looks well used

New curvy ramp on top of hill comes to an abrupt end overlooking a steep drop

Ramp ending in a 2m drop is only for the bold and a good stunt bike

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