A group of Chilliwack mothers who were happy to see the new pump track open up in The Landing area, are now pushing back against bad behaviour at the city’s newest recreation facility.
From rudeness and swearing and vaping to drug use and bullying and violence, the list of complaints is long and the list of concerned parents is growing.
“I have visited this track on a few occasions with my children [with my] daughter who is 11 and two stepsons who are eight and 11,” Claire Walker told The Progress recently. “I have been appalled and disappointed in the actions I have seen… smoking vape pens, severe littering, loud awful language and bullying.”
Yvonne Schouten said that over spring break she brought her five children to the new Rosedale bike park, the skate park at The Landing, and the new pump track and while she is grateful the city built these facilities, her visits have not been good.
“My kids are all 10 and under and they really didn’t feel that they were able to partake in the fun at these locations a lot of the time,” Schouten said via email. “There were a lot of teenagers around and they did not treat the younger kids well at all. My six-year old nephew was even shoved down on the pump track and then laughed and pointed at by several older kids. The language being thrown around was atrocious, with many profanities being spewed loudly.”
Mom Nicole Vidal has an 18-month-old son who she has been bringing to the adjacent toddler park for a year. She loved it, but since the pump track opened she says teenagers take over the park aimed for young kids or cause dangerous situations riding bikes too fast around the little ones.
Kayla Doane also has serious concerns about what she’s seen at The Landing since the pump track opened up.
“I think I speak for a lot of moms when I say what is happening here is very concerning to us,” Doane told The Progress. “The drugs, the fighting. Kids hot-boxing the bathrooms. Calling younger children names.”
But the fighting is of particular concern, and that includes a disturbing video shared on social media showing one girl kicking and punching another on the ground all while, allegedly, a mother of one of the girls cheered her daughter on.
Doane is a member of a private Facebook group called “Chilliwack Moms” where concerns about the bad behaviour around the pump track have been shared.
“We as a group want to get the mayor’s attention as to what is happening and find solutions,” she said. “We need to monitor this park better before we have a Carson Crimeni situation in Chilliwack.”
Carson Crimeni is a reference to the 14-year-old whose final moments before death at a Langley skatepark were broadcast on social media.
But make no mistake, Mayor Ken Popove is well aware of the situation and city hall is working on a solution.
During the design phase, staff consulted with jurisdictions across Canada to ask about fencing and track-use protocols and found that most pump tracks were unfenced, do not require supervision, and reported few bad behaviour concerns.
“The pump track is more popular than we anticipated and having people not following proper etiquette is frustrating,” Popove told The Progress. “Fortunately, staff have been monitoring the situation and we are already taking steps to address some of the concerns that have come up.”
Fencing is coming, and increased patrols by Griffin Security have already started.
”We hope that the fencing will help prevent some of the conflicts that have been happening between the children’s playground and the pump track. With a main entrance point, the fence should also help control the number of users that can access the track at a given time.”
Another option beyond the increased security patrols is having security personnel onsite to ensure people using the track are following proper track safety rules and protocol.
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