Riding to the rescue
Jun 01, 2012
Vemp fundraiser nets $7,000 toward noise study If the city needs him to rezone his property, that’s exactly what he’ll do.
For now, though, Vemp owner Serge Solomon said the city is allowing him to reopen the park, but for practices only, on account of his willingness to comply with their regulations. The plan is to hold practice sessions at their usual time on June 8.
“That’s very good news,” Solomon said, adding the city has been nothing but helpful in guiding him through the process. "The city is giving me some breathing room. There's a big difference between racing and practising."
Solomon said he’s already looked at proposals from a number of noise engineers, and he’s waiting on a few more before he makes a decision. He expects to settle on a proposal by early next week. The noise study, which, so far, comes with an average price range of between $10,000 to $15,000, would likely begin in mid-June. The final report would be presented to the city's planning committee likely in mid-August, he said. Once he gets the green light from the city, his property will be rezoned recreational, allowing him to once again go full throttle on racing.
Solomon said once all the t's are crossed and the i's are dotted, he’s entirely “confident” the park will meet the standards.
On May 30, some 150 people, including riders, showed their support for Solomon and the Vemp by attending a fundraising barbecue. Local shops made donations, as well as riders themselves. Many agreed that the park is an asset to the city. The event raised in excess of $7,000.
“This is the only centralized track between (Sault Ste. Marie) and Barrie,” Gerry Pothier said. Considering he’s the one responsible for driving his son, Justin, to races and practices, he likes the idea of not having to leave the city to do it.
For Jeremi Foisy, the Vemp is just down the road. If not for the racing and training facility, he said he’s not sure what he’d do – the only thing he’s certain is that he’d keep riding. That would mean taking to pits, and trying to make his way through local trails.
“It’s hard with all the private property,” he said.
His words were echoed by the riders who treat the park like a second home.
“It will be nice to be able to continue my career as a motocross racer,” Foisy said.
Derek Sanftenberg, a racer who has reached pro status, couldn’t agree more. He said he’s been riding at the Gravel Drive park since he was a kid.
“It becomes a lifestyle,” he said.
Surrounded by fellow riders, who quickly become friends, is part of the wonder of riding at a facility like the Vemp, he said.
Others are nearby to offer advice, first aid and a congratulatory high-five for learning a new skill.
Sanftenberg said on any given practice night, there are at least 30 and sometimes as many as 50 bikes at the Vemp. Aside from the social benefits, there’s also a significant economical factor involved.
Sanftenberg and the other riders said they’d much prefer to support their hometown park than travel to other cities to use theirs.
To help raise funds for the park, or to learn more, visit thevemp.com.
Posted by Arron Pickard
© 2013 Laurentian Publishing