Like they say there is 3 sides to every story, I am not trying to cause any issue here, I just am posting what is from another site....
September 25th, 2009, 11:34 am
Letter from Popkum Indian Band
An open letter to the off road motorcycle community of BC and specifically the
BC Off-Road Motorcycle Association,
BC Old Timers Motocross Club
The Fraser Valley Dirt Riders Association,
Lower Mainland Motocross Club
I am shocked by stories circulating by some about the efforts to build a motocross and
trail riding facility at Popkum. Some people seem intent on trashing the reputations all
involved, including hurting some of their own dedicated people who are trying to make a
difference for the good of the sport you all love. While these small minded acts intent on
destruction represent the minority, they are vocal and dangerous. People are circulating
stories of missing money and broken promises. Threats have been issued to the property
and people of the Popkum Band and others associated with the project. Before anyone
does anything else they will surely regret I think everyone should know the facts.
By now you probably have all heard that a group of four motocross enthusiasts and one
member of the trail riding community have been busy trying to create a place for
everyone to enjoy for years to come. Stories abound about how the motocross guys were
tricked out of vast sums of money and then kicked off the land by the Band. This is not
true. The motocross guys chose to leave the project of their own accord and Popkum is
still trying to get them to come back. Without their participation the potential for a
motocross track at Popkum is in jeopardy. So why did they choose to leave rather than
finish the facility? I have heard some very colorful stories.
Here’s what happened:
It looked like everything would fall into place and a great facility would be built.
Three tracks were proposed, along with campgrounds, trails and training facilities.
With Hans Wegener organizing motocross and Larry Jordan organizing trails the
ingredients for success were there. The Band wanted a single operating company to lease
the land and operate the facility to avoid obvious conflicts and competition. While Larry
was in agreement the MX boys did not like the idea of working with others and wanted to
pursue two separate and distinct operations.
A rent formula was proposed which saw the Band receive a below market base rent in
exchange for participation in the revenue of the business as an equal partner. The concept
relied on assumptions of facility construction and future revenues. This is where the
problems began. The Band made continued attempts to get the MX boys to define the
project in scope and schedule, as well as cash flow. A site plan was created showing
access roads and boundaries for 3 proposed tracks. A one acre area was defined for a
50cc Beginner track, a 5 acre area for an 80cc Junior track and a 10 acre area for the
Pro track. Access routes and areas for parking, camping and training were also defined.
The next big detail to fill in was the project budget. The Band discussed with both the
Trails and the Mx teams the potential for the Band to fund the construction of the facility
and how that might affect the big picture. The Motocross team said the budget could not
be made without a design, and a design could not be created without some light clearing
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and grubbing to better see the land. At a meeting on site one of the motocross team,
Mike Muller stated that he would put up $40,000 in machine time to make the project
happen, but not a penny more. He had machines collecting dust and an operator he would
otherwise have to lay off so he could start immediately with the grubbing. He promised
not to remove any trees without Band permission. With much excitement and optimism
machines rolled onto the site and started clearing away blackberries.
Unfortunately the paperwork seemed to lose appeal when compared with getting dirty on
site. While the Band tried different forms to get a project definition, budget and cash flow
from the MX boys none were successful. All the while they pushed for the right to
operate independently amid assurances that they were all experienced businessmen and
knew how things are done.
While Larry Jordan produced detailed project budgets and cash flow schedules for the
Trail riding operation, the Motocross team produced no project documents. When asked
for a schedule they told the Band that the workers are volunteers so there can be no
schedule. Confidence in the motocross business model faltered in the absence of plan
details. Instead of producing a project definition they suggested that they wanted to
operate a track for 5 years before spending any money developing services like
toilets, camping or safety fencing.
As such they didn’t need any capital from the Band or anyone else. They suggested that
the best way to proceed was to avoid spending money on development until track revenue
produced enough money for construction. What ever the merits of this approach might
be it was clear that site servicing and track revenue are big parts of the Band’s interest
in the project so this position needed to be clarified.
The first big surprise came at a meeting to work out details the motocross team. They
advised that they had incorporated a company, Fraser Valley ORV Park, to participate in
the track operation, but had not included the Band as an equal partner as promised.
Despite removing the Band from participation and not coming up with any of the
requested project information they were still eager to strike a deal for independent
About this time the Chief was unavailable and no further dialogue happened . A great
many surprises awaited his return, a little over a week later. The FV ORV crew had gone
ahead and started building at the site of the 5 acre 80cc track. There was still no design,
budget nor schedule, much less cash flow projections but construction was underway.
Imagine you have a nice big back yard where your kids play and you like to entertain
friends with a summer barbeque. So one day you decide a swimming pool would be fun
to have. You arrange for a contractor to come and tell you if he can build one and what it
would cost. Before you head off to work he says it’ll be about $40,000 but he needs to do
more work to confirm.
Page 3 of 4
When you return you find the contractor has already built the swimming pool, and it’s in
your front yard. Not only that but they built it in your driveway! Imagine that and you’ll
start to understand what happened at Popkum. Now imagine the contractor telling you he
spent $140,000 building that pool in your driveway, and don’t worry you can still get to
your garage by driving through your neighbors’ yard. If your minds not blown yet now
imagine the contractor telling you he has invited the whole community to a pool party in
a couple of weeks so he hopes the construction finishes on time. Are you getting the
One consequence of starting to build without producing a plan, or getting it approved is
that they blew through every one of the four boundaries defining the proposed 80cc
track on the site layout. They ignored them as if they were not there. They built a 12’
tabletop where the access road was supposed to be. They ate up almost all of the 1 acre
50cc track area, extended into an off limits area, and they pushed the starting coral onto
the main access road. The worst error may have been the final boundary where they blew
out another access road and a mountain runoff channel. There was no consideration
for drainage as the track pushed across the channel and into an area proposed for trails
use. The intended 5 acre 80cc track now covered nearly 13 acres of land.
The boys reported that they had exceeded the $40,000 grubbing budget and had done
nearly $140,000 in work getting to this point. The Band had no choice on how or where
this work was done beyond the initial grubbing agreement.
So now we’ve got the proverbial swimming pool in our driveway. What do we do?
Despite what can be perceived to be an outrageous disregard for authority and planning
the Popkum Band did not shut them down, nor kick them off the land. However we did
tell them that a manager would be appointed by the Band to oversee all activities on site
to make sure mistakes like this didn’t happen again. Together we could all try to find
solutions to the problems created by the unauthorized construction so the motocross
tracks could proceed. At this point independent motocross operation was no longer a
consideration but the future of motocross at Popkum was still alive. Motocross and Trails
would operate as separate divisions of one company, with a band appointed administrator
making sure it all worked.
Both the Trails and Motocross teams were asked if any were interested in, or could
recommend a candidate for consideration as the full time project manager. All of the
motocross team declined, stating present full time jobs and businesses to run. Larry
however offered to take on the responsibility. The motocross boys reacted strongly
against having to answer to anyone, especially Larry.
The Band asked the Motocross team and Larry to meet and work out the details of how to
proceed. The MX boys refused to meet and pulled out of the project. They cried foul,
claiming to have been cheated by the Band out of $250,000. When asked where that
number came from they said it was how much their machine time and volunteer effort
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The Mx boys walked away from the site and left the entire motocross project in limbo.
The only way to preserve the value of their effort is to carry on and make an operational
track. Although a track was roughed in it was not complete, lacked any drainage
consideration and needed work to overcome layout errors. Without the continued
participation of the motocross team there is no certainty that a track would ever get
operational. If nothing is done before winter the lack of drainage could wash away much
of the track work by spring. The brambles will grow back and all benefit will be lost.
They put at risk all the work that was done, and any future for motocross at Popkum.
No one but the FV ORV team decided to go beyond clearing and grubbing, they chose to
exceed the $40,000 cap; they chose to ignore the requests for planning and details, they
chose to start construction without approved, to blow through the layout boundaries and
the drainage washout. They chose to interrupt access roads in three locations. When told
future work would be supervised they chose to terminate construction and cancel planned
dates. They chose to walk away from the effort and put it all at risk. And they can choose
to come back tomorrow and get back to business.
It appears the motocross boys or their friends embarked on a slanderous campaign to get
public opinion on their side. The Band began receiving threats to person and property
amid demands to give the motocross boys freedom to do as they please. This really made
the Popkum Band membership question what kind of community the motocross crowd
represents, and whether the track was worth the headache. Amidst this unsavory
atmosphere the entire project was nearly lost.
That’s when Larry Jordan stepped to the front. His love of the sport and concern for
future generations became obvious. He volunteered to manage construction and
operations full time for over a year without a salary, and he borrowed against his house to
offer financing to allow the project to move forward while waiting for Band or other
So how does the Trail Riding community recognize one of it’s own who goes above and
beyond to contribute to the sport? Apparently some choose to scorn him and suggest a
boycott of the facility as a suitable response. Others suggest legal action to discourage
building a park where present and future generations can share the passion. What is
wrong with this picture? If this is how the community cares for it’s own and the future of
the sport then it’s not the kind of community I thought it was. Perhaps it is the vocal few
who are creating this impression but I must say it presents a very unflattering image of
the dirt riding community. If the riders don’t appreciate the effort why would people like
Larry care enough to do what they do? If they do appreciate it then why do they stand for
the other nonsense? Does the off road riding community want this facility or not?
Popkum First Nationwaterdog
Joined: June 26th, 2009, 9:26 am Top
Re: The Popkum Story - Motocross and Trails
by waterdog » October 15th, 2009, 1:28 pm
Update on the Popkum Motorcycle Ranch. We are going forward with the MX track, however it will not be open until March 13, 2010.
At that time we should be ready to show off the entire Ranch and be open 7 days a week for practice. We still need to finalize the hours of operation, but most likely it will be from 9:00 AM till dusk.
Besides all the corporate start-up distractions and contractor coordination issues, there are a number of fixes and modifications which need to be made to the track and the weather is not going to hold out long enough for us to get everything properly prepared for a “grand opening” (or even a small “special customer screening”). Also, we have to purchase insurance on a yearly basis, and the effective costs for being open for just a few days/weeks (out of a 5 month period) are just too high.
Joined: June 26th, 2009, 9:26 am Top
Re: The Popkum Story - Motocross and Trails
by LuLu » October 15th, 2009, 5:35 pm
Thanks for sharing your plans at the FVDRA meeting this week.
Exciting to hear about all that you have planned!
I for one am looking forward to the learn to ride and tours! Let me know if you need any more instructors.
I think it will be well attended once you are up and running. I know of people from abroad that have inquired about such recreational expeditions.