Following news of the Portage Junk Yard Dogs Cycling Club efforts to renovate the hill alongside the 240 exit from the Trans-Canada highway to Southport, Kevin and Iris Yuill thought they'd like to get involved.
The hill is slated to include interpretive trails, a bike park, toboggan hills, and more. It was first presented to city council in January of last year.
"Blair Geisel had come to us in the early winter," says Iris. "The Junkyard Dogs were needing some financial assistance to prepare their presentation to City Hall, and so we had offered to help cover some of their costs. During the conversation, we were really enthused about the project and had suggested that we maybe could offer some more donations if it got up and going."
The way that their donations works is by matching every donation that others provide, up to $100,000.
She notes they thought it would be great to do it in the form of a challenge, to encourage others to join the effort and ensure they spend the money that they committed.
"It's a fun way," she adds. "It may get donations that wouldn't ordinarily come."
Kevin explains they've been on some of the trails by the river.
"The guys work hard at it, and it's excellent exercise," says Kevin. "Hopefully, the city and people traveling by will stop and use this hill and the bike trails."
He says it's great for the community and the city is onboard with the program.
"Junkyard Dogs have done an excellent job with what they've done already, and their trails are excellent," notes Kevin.
Iris says it's an activity with no membership, so anyone can enjoy it.
"I mean, who doesn't like to go for a walk or bike ride? It's going to be user-friendly for people in wheelchairs or with mobility issues," adds Iris. "Absolutely everybody can use it."
She notes it's exciting to be involved.
"We've got a grandchild here and we just want there to be things to do in Portage that everybody can do, that you don't have to drive away for," continues Iris. "People drive all over the province to find hiking trails. So, maybe people will drive to Portage to walk on our paths in the activity park."
Kevin adds he's looking forward to seeing it completed and seeing what they've been able to lend a hand for. Iris says she hopes there will be enough community support so they can come good with their challenge.
To make a donation: https://portagejyd.com/portage-junk-yard-dog-park