The Burns Lake Mountain Bike Association is building a shelter at Kager Lake next year

The Burns Lake Mountain Bike Association is building a shelter at Kager Lake next year

Burns Lake Mountain Bike building a shelter at Kager Lake

The group requested financial support from the village to help promote Burns Lake.

The Burns Lake Mountain Biking Association (BLMBA) plans to build a new shelter near the east end of the Kager Lake parking lot.

“The shelter will be a 20 by 24 feet open building with a cookstove and fire ring,” described Guy Epkens-Shafer, BLMBA President. “There will be fire proof counter tops for mini barbecues to sit on so families can get out of the rain to cook or just hang out.”

The new shelter will cost approximately $25,000 and will be built in 2016.

Guy talked about the new shelter during a BLMBA presentation to village council on Dec. 8, 2015. During the presentation, BLMBA asked the Village of Burns Lake for financial support for its membership with Mountain Biking B.C. Each year, BLMBA pays $1500 to have Burns Lake advertised on the Mountain Biking B.C. website, which promotes communities as mountain biking destinations.

The $1500 covers advertisement costs and the ability to provide content to the Burns Lake portal to attract more visitors to the Lakes District.

According to Guy, all money invested in advertisement and the Burns Lake trails goes right back into the community. In 2015, seven kilometres of new trail were built.

“More and better trails means more visitors and more money spent,” Guy pointed out during his presentation to council. “These visitors utilize hotels, restaurants and other local establishments, and tell their friends about Burns Lake who come and utilize hotels.”

Guy also said the trails help attract professionals to move to the area, and new businesses such as Burnt Bikes. In addition, the trails have given Burns Lake international recognition – Burns Lake was the first community in Canada to receive the ‘ride centre’ designation from the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

Furthermore, Guy said the trails are not only being used for mountain bikers – many residents use the trails for walking, running, snowshoeing, walking their dogs and cross-country skiing. Exercise and close contact with nature not only contributes to mental and physical well-being of local residents, but it also has a long-term economic benefit, he explained.

Council has agreed to consider the BLMBA request during budget deliberations that will take place in early 2016.