Bellarine riders keep pushing for recreational track
CALLS for a purpose-built mountain bike and BMX track on the Bellarine Peninsula are gathering momentum and have won the support of local parents and a cycling safety advocate.
The push comes after the City of Greater Geelong council flattened parts of the “humps” bike track in Woodlands Estate due to safety concerns, prompting an Ocean Grove father of two boys to start an online petition to gauge interest in forming a group to spearhead a campaign for a new facility.
Ryan Dodson’s petition has already gained more than 1,000 signatures since July 20. He hopes to soon meet with council in the hope of working together with them towards the ultimate goal of a new track somewhere in Ocean Grove.
“The kids are building their own mountain bike tracks anywhere they can – there’s a demand and a need for it and I think parents are always going to support their children who have a desire to get out on their bikes,’’ he said.
“Many kids were disappointed their track was flattened, but we understand and appreciate council needs to make things safe.
“We want to work together with council because we need their support for a new track.’’
Mr Dodson said other parents had contacted him offering support to form a group, which would explore possible funding options and meet with local government.
Local cycling safety advocate Barton van Laar backed the campaign.
“I fully support the call for a purpose-built facility such as being advocated right now,’’ he said.
“I understand the City of Greater Geelong removing unauthorised areas for environmental and safety reasons, however doing so without recognising the need for such facilities around the Bellarine Peninsula is questionable.
“Especially now, we need more off-road cycling paths and recreational purpose-built facilities for BMX and mountain bikes.
“COGG is promoting and investing in active transport, more exercise for families and a healthier community.
“The very popular Hill Mountain Bike Park near Balyang Sanctuary is great, but too far away from Ocean Grove and Point Lonsdale.
“The Bellarine Peninsula has very poor, accessible, connected cycling infrastructure and I urge Council to listen to the Community on the Bellarine Peninsula and cater for these types of facilities locally.’’
Queenscliff council has recently closed the Bunny Woods area of the Point Lonsdale foreshore to protect native vegetation as a result of cyclists straying from established tracks.
“We also know that some of our local riders are looking for something more challenging, so council is looking into options for a more substantial bike track in the Borough,’’ a statement on the Borough website reads.
“We’ve written to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning asking for their support for this project, and we’re looking forward to involving riders in designing this track.
“We appreciate everyone’s help protecting our coastal vegetation while we get started on this project. The less time our engineers spend fixing damaged vegetation, the more time they can spend creating an even better bike track.’’
If you would like to sign the Ocean Grove petition, head to change.org.