The Western Canada Mountain Biking Tourism Association is pleased to welcome aboard two new staff members, Aviva Fialkow - Manager, Advocacy and Community Relations and Grant Lamont - Project Leader, Trail Stewardship Enhancement Project. In line with feedback received from mountain biking clubs across the province in our 2022 survey, these new roles will increase the MBTA’s ability to:
- Assist clubs of all sizes by providing best practices and information.
- Strengthen relations with the Province of BC and Indigenous governments.
- Forge relationships with outdoor recreation advocacy bodies; and
- Build capacity to support mountain biking clubs with common challenges - from insurance and land use agreements to trail applications and funding opportunities.
Since 2006, the MBTA has worked to establish mountain biking as a safe and sustainable tourism experience in Western Canada through collaborating with businesses, bike clubs, resorts, and government agencies. With the explosive growth of biking in British Columbia and rising trail maintenance demands, we recognize the need to shift our focus from tourism promotion to enabling continued excellence from grassroots mountain biking groups. Volunteers within these organizations work tirelessly to offer fun and enjoyable adventures that enrich the health, wellbeing and economic sustainability of communities across the province.
With this in mind, we encourage clubs to submit feedback on key advocacy priorities for British Columbia’s mountain biking sector. Stay tuned for the release of a survey in the near future!
Grant Lamont - Project Leader, Trail Stewardship Enhancement Project
In collaboration with community trail organizations and land managers in BC, including Recreation Sites and Trails BC (RSTBC), Grant will oversee the implementation of trail signage and data collection initiative involving up to 60 communities. The key goals of this project are to improve the consistency of information available for trail users at main access points for sanctioned mountain bike trail networks across BC, as well as obtain current and accurate data on the volume of trail users, lengths of trails maintained, volunteer hours and other information. With the explosive growth of mountain biking across the province, collecting accurate timely data will help inform our collective understanding of the many benefits that mountain biking contributes to local communities, visitors, and the province as a whole.
Grant lives in Whistler, BC on the unceded territories of the Lil’wat Nation and Squamish Nation and has been dedicated to enhancing and growing British Columbia’s trail network for over 55 years. In 1967 at the age of 6 years old, he helped build the Baden Powell Trail on the North Shore with Cub Scouts. Since then, he has had a remarkable career helping communities, recreation tourism operators and government agencies to develop British Columbia into a world-class destination for mountain biking. He has served on the Whistler Municipal Council (2008-2011), has been a cornerstone of the Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association since 1989, and was one of the key developers of the BC Bike Race in 2007. In 2014, he was selected to represent Whistler within the Mountain Bike Tourism Association, where he has played a key role in expanding meaningful partnerships and funding opportunities and building relationships with First Nations and the Province. Whether advising on strategic land use and recreation plans, coordinating events within the outdoor recreation and cycling communities, guiding bike tours around Whistler, or forming new partnerships with industry or government, Grant approaches each challenge with creativity and a can-do mindset. His long-standing involvement in British Columbia’s mountain biking community, collaborative nature, and entrepreneurial thinking make him a real asset to the MBTA and we look forward to seeing all he accomplishes!
Aviva Fialkow - Manager, Advocacy and Community Relations
Aviva joins the MBTA as our new Manager of Advocacy and Community Relations. This role will strive to create a provincial voice for clubs and trail associations, ensuring that interests of community groups are strongly represented. Biking clubs expressed they have been facing challenges in obtaining sustainable funding for maintaining and operating trails, showcasing the economic impacts of mountain biking, liaising with Recreation Sites and Trails BC, forming partnerships with Indigenous communities and finding the right insurance policies to meet their needs. To address these concerns, Aviva will be responsible for creating and disseminating resources for operational and organizational practices that will provide biking groups with useful information and best practices, including grant funding, government relations with First Nations and the Province of BC, and much more.
Aviva lives in Revelstoke, BC on the unceded territories of the Sinixt, Secwepemc and Sylix Okanagan Nations. After falling in love with mountain biking in 2020, she knew she wanted to live in a community that enabled her to bike as much as possible! After many years of visiting Revelstoke and wondering why she always had to drive back to Calgary, she finally relocated to the vibrant mountain community in 2021. With her background in sustainability and communications, she has developed initiatives to advance natural resource conservation, reconciliation, sustainable community development, and renewable energy in British Columbia and Alberta. Aviva brings experience in grant writing, indigenous relations, reporting, policy analysis, advocacy, strategic planning, governance and community engagement from academic, private and non-profit sectors. As someone still relatively new to the mountain biking community, she is passionate about creating inclusive and accessible initiatives for people of all ages and ability levels to immerse themselves in the joys of mountain biking. She currently serves on the City of Revelstoke’s Environmental Advisory Committee and is excited to work with other provincial recreation groups, government and industry to encourage responsible recreation practices and stewardship from the biking community. Ensuring our incredible trail resources will continue to enrich our communities for generations to come!