BMX-ers aren't racing to washrooms anymore
The City of Grand Forks council members have once again granted the Grand Forks BMX Society access to the washrooms at the west end of the park.
Access was taken away a year ago after campers lodged complaints about the state of the facilities, said mayor Brian Taylor at the April 15th council meeting.
“We did have some complaints prior to that change from campers,” he said.
The BMX Society has been around since 1996 throughout the years without too many problems. Typically, the washrooms are only available to campers staying at the Grand Forks Municipal Campground with the BMX Society having access during races.
Margaret Kovacs spoke for the BMX Society and said parents have found it extremely challenging to try and juggle washroom breaks while also taking care of multiple children and volunteering at the event. In the first part of the racing season, the city park’s main washrooms aren’t unlocked to the public, which means parents have to load their children into a car and drive to find a washroom.
Children as young as three-years-old take part in BMX events and the younger children have a hard time holding their bladders when they have to wait to reach a washroom.
“This is unacceptable,” said Kovacs. “People should have access to washrooms.”
The issue is further complicated when they are holding tournaments. At this point, the campground is usually filled with racing participants and the society has concessions set up, including barbecues, but participants don’t have any where to wash up.
Kovacs suggested that they be given their own key and offered volunteers to help monitor the washrooms. The washrooms are only used once a week for a few hours each night.
She also pointed out that the BMX Society is quite successful with almost 40 racers that compete locally, provincially and even some go on to race in the United States. In July, they host a provincial race that brings in over 100 racers — which fills up the campground.
“They come for racing but they also plan for sightseeing, river tubing and borscht,” said Kovacs, adding this brings revenue into the community.
Councillors had mixed feelings about re-opening the washrooms especially because the issue has come up before council in the past.
“There may have been confusion since last time,” said councillor Bob Kendell, referring to how frequently the track is used. “From what you are telling me, if it’s once a week on a Wednesday night for a few hours that’s a different situation.”
Councilor Cher Wyers was more inclined to reserve the washrooms only for campers. She said that campers have showers and only two stalls and that they are often showering at night.
“I strongly feel that these washrooms should be left alone for our campground users during our campground season,” she said.
After some discussion a motion was made to give BMX-ers access to the washrooms. The motion was carried with Taylor and councillors Wyers and Patrick O’Doherty opposed.