June 8, 2005 (Toronto, ON.) – The Ontario Cup Downhill Mountain Bike event has been cancelled on the July long weekend.
Due to circumstances relating to a claim and insurance concerns, Blue Mountain Resorts has notified the Ontario Cycling Association and Sirbikealot Racing and Promotions (the Downhill Race event organizer) that the event scheduled for July 2nd and 3rd will not happen.
“This is tremendously upsetting,” stated Steve Merker, Executive Director of the OCA. “Downhill racing in Ontario has recently seen a participation surge. Our first event of the year had record numbers and we were looking forward to building on that momentum. It’s truly sad that insurance concerns are frightening venues away from hosting sporting events and activities.”
Similar issues are happening in sports that use public facilities. For example, recreational basketball participation has dropped significantly due to the increasing costs of gym space in schools. Cycling is in danger of losing venues and therefore participation due to closures such as Blue Mountain. Dagmar Ski resort and Pleasure Valley, two very popular mountain bike destinations, have shut their gates to recreational and competitive cyclists within the last two years.
Closures and cancellations are threatening the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation’s goal “to increase Ontario’s sport participation and physical activity rate so that by the year 2010, at least 55 per cent of Ontarians are physically active” The youth of Ontario will be affected the most by these closures.
This cancellation may have repercussions beyond Ontario. As Intrawest owns and operates many facilities across North America, this could jeopardize future events at venues such as Tremblant in Quebec and Whistler in British Columbia.
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