Help Save the Greenland Dirt Jumps

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Hello City of Oshawa and Durham Region residents,

I am requesting the City of Oshawa to halt their decision to demolish the Greenland Dirt Jumps by September 23rd, 2020, and to provide evidence that it is absolutely necessary to do so. On behalf of the many park users, I am asking the City of Oshawa to allow some time for community engagement.

The Greenland Dirt Jumps have been in existence for over a decade. While these trails are not fully sanctioned, they have been modelled after professionally built public bike parks. Some of the people who started building the jumps still ride and maintain them for everyone to use today. Other than one complaint some years ago regarding a garbage issue which was rectified, bike riders have shared the space with other recreational users without noticing complaints or problems with the city. Many people from other regions/ municipalities visit to take advantage of the great riding opportunity rarely found freely accessible to the public. Many kids that live in the area are also able to take advantage of the close proximity to different residential neighbourhoods without the need for a drive from their parents. Local professional BMX athlete, Mike Varga, used to be one of those people. During his childhood, Greenland got Mike Varga into dirt. Now he’s an X games BMX dirt gold medallist.

Greenland has a welcoming tight-knit community of local residents that take care of the jumps and the green space that surrounds it. The park has been made by experienced bike riders, for bike riders. This actually helps make the jumps as safe as possible. Those who participate in a sport such as BMX know the importance of having parks designed by people who understand how the sport works. The jumps and the park’s overall orientation have been designed with safety as the first priority. There is something to ride for all skill levels. Filter obstacles are in place to allow safe progression through trails of varying difficulty. Many other considerations have been made such as visibility, drainage, progressive features, safe paths to exit after each landing, and each jump’s structural integrity.

Kids need a safe way to access the outdoors during these difficult times. That has become very challenging since the pandemic has put a hold on many activities for kids such as sports teams, camps, or even hanging out at their friend’s house. When visiting the dirt jumps you would see many different ages and races all participating together. Now we are trying to work together to convince the City of Oshawa that engaging youth in outdoor projects actually has a positive outcome. At Greenland Dirt Jumps the youth have a sense of ownership and responsibility for the area they are invested in creating as well. As there are no garbage facilities for the park, we help each other when removing the litter left around which has helped some of the kids gain a better connection and appreciation for nature. It’s an invaluable experience during an era where youth are more commonly becoming disconnected by staring at screens for hours of their day.

It has only been a few days since the city has put fences up to block the entrance into the park. Already, we have seen a large outpouring of support from the local community to protect the Greenland Dirt Jumps. The City of Oshawa, unfortunately, has a poor reputation for safety at its public skateboard parks. With the decision to demolish Greenland, it has brought many individuals, parents, and their kids stress trying to find a solution that allows them to continue having access to a similar space that isn’t plagued by poor safety. The community is more than glad to work with the city to do whatever is necessary to maintain this safe space with access to recreational facilities. We encourage ideas like the use of signage at all entrances outlining the possible risks for riders who wish to participate. There is a golf course located right beside the jumps which have a gravel road that can provide access for emergency vehicles should it be necessary. We are also fully supportive of finding another way to allow emergency vehicles proper access in case of an accident.

Please sign this petition to help save the Greenland Dirt Jumps. They have had such a positive impact on our local community. We believe that people make things happen. With over a decade of sweat equity from locals who took the time to create something for everyone with a similar interest in biking to use - we have a passion to keep things going and to maintain them in a sustainable way. We are not asking to expand, but only maintain, or adjust what is necessary. If the City of Oshawa must demolish our dirt jumps, is there no way to wait until we can find another suitable location?