Tourism Squamish has thrown its support behind cyclist Richard
MacKellar’s vision for a Test of Metal Sports Park.
“I sat down with him a few months ago,” said Lesley Weeks,
manager of tourism development with Tourism Squamish. “We started
brainstorming, and he did a presentation to the Tourism Squamsh Board. They’re
supportive and want me to spend time on this initiative.”
An awareness campaign began last week, with Tourism Squamish
sending out a volley of e-mails asking for letters of support as they go
forward and lobby different levels of government.
“This is just a start — to try and get out as much
awareness as possible, to get some letters and see where we can go,” said
Weeks.” The next step would be to go to council and move on from there. In
Richard’s words, ‘It’s a marathon, not a sprint.’ We’re just trying to do
whatever we can to assist.”
In an interview with
Mayor Greg Gardner praised the idea. “I look forward to hearing more about it,”
The Test of Metal course is 67 kilometres long. Parts of it are
used in other races, such as loonie and twoonie races, as well as Gear Jammer
and the Stormy.
For MacKellar, the time is now. Over the years, he’s watched
logging and development pick away at the trail.
“It could eventually die by a thousand cuts,” he said. “No one
of them in themselves are overwhelming, but, taken together, they’re quite
He’s been involved in the race for years, mostly as a test
pilot. Throughout that time, he’s seen logging and other types of development
nip at trails like Old Jack’s Trail, Dead End Loop and the Powerhouse Plunge.
“To leave a legacy to be enjoyed by our children, and for
generations to come, we are starting the process of protecting the lands to
save it from the threat of development, logging and quarrying,” reads the
campaign literature. “Can you imagine Squamish without the Test of Metal? We
would like to be sure that threats such as those to The Plunge and Dead End
Loop can be avoided. For this we will need community support.”
No lobby effort comes without hurdles. MacKellar is concerned
over development in Garibaldi Highlands, as well as discussions with Squamish
Nation and other trail users.
“Those will be the most contentious discussions,” he said.