‘Fantastic’ or inappropriate?
A PROPOSED bike park at Torquay’s Ocean Acres Nature Reserve is facing diverse and divided community opinion.
Surf Coast Shire Council presented concept designs to local residents in January and asked for public feedback on the design, with 29 submissions received including 14 in support, 14 opposing the plan and one considered ‘neutral’.
Submitters also had an opportunity to speak to councillors at a special meeting via Zoom this week, elaborating on their written feedback before council makes a decision on the track development.
The BMX track project idea was initially suggested by a young Ocean Acres resident and supported by more than 40 other residents.
The council decided in December 2019 that the BMX track and open basin upgrade at the Ocean Acres reserve was a viable proposal and later secured $80,000 from the Australian Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program to deliver the project.
Ocean Acres Estate residents were asked for feedback on the project including the upgrade of the existing drainage area to make a more attractive and usable public open space.
The plan also includes integration of the improved drainage outlet with open areas and a dry creek bed providing nature play opportunities.
A new local bike park for all ages is proposed for a third of the site, which is generally an unused area, according to the council’s report.
Supporting submissions described the idea as a “fantastic” area for kids, an improvement for a boggy area, and a positive project to meet the needs of young people.
Objectors were concerned with potential noise, traffic and other impacts of the bike park on nature and other park users.
Councillors Mike Bodsworth, Paul Barker, Gary Allen and Adrian Schonfelder met with community members at two mediation meetings in May, without being able to reach a “negotiated outcome”.
A report will be prepared following this week’s special meeting and the project is planned for inclusion on the council’s August agenda to determine if the project goes ahead.