BMX track on course

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Cockatoo youth will soon have access to a BMX track after years of community lobbying efforts and a growing demand for child-friendly facilities in the town.

Cardinia Shire Council has passed a motion to implement the Skate Park and BMX Strategy that has prioritised the construction of a BMX track in Cockatoo, a skate park at Beaconsfield’s Holm Park Reserve and a regional skate park facility at an Officer location yet to be determined.

Cockatoo mother-of-two Kathy Phillips said the Cockatoo Township’s BMX Track sub-committee had lobbied for a BMX track for two and a half years.

“It’s been a long drawn-out process, and now we’ve managed to push the BMX track from medium priority to high priority,” Ms Phillips said.

“My 13-year-old twins are definitely keen for a BMX track, although I think by the time they complete the project, my kids will be 25. But it’s important for Cockatoo and it needs to happen. There’s just nothing for kids to do around here.

“There are more than 1200 kids under 15 years old in Cockatoo, yet it’s really lacking in recreational facilities. We haven’t really got a decent park.”

The BMX sub-committee has advocated for the BMX track to be constructed at the southern end of Alma Treloar Reserve.

But Cardinia Shire Active Communities manager Jim Davine said a suitable site for Cockatoo’s long-awaited BMX track was yet to be determined.

“The Alma Treloar Reserve Master Plan is scheduled for review later this year,” Mr Davine said.

“The recommendations of the strategy and the master plan review will help the council establish whether Alma Treloar Reserve is the right location for a BMX track and, if so, we will start discussions with DELWP’s Department of Environment and Primary Industries.”

Ms Phillips said that in previous discussions, the Mountain Recreation Reserve had been identified as a potential site for the track. But, she said, the reserve was too “isolated” and would be a “dangerous” option from a parent’s point of view.

Ms Phillips said she hoped the BMX track would mark the beginning of more parks and other new recreational areas in Cockatoo.

“There is an obvious need for more spaces for the children. Things like this (BMX track) get the kids outdoors and being active,” she said.

“Cockatoo school kids aren’t encouraged to ride bikes to school because the roads are not very safe.

“I think it will also maybe reduce graffiti and keep kids out of trouble. It’ll give them a way to burn off their energy and to just hang out with friends.

“The BMX track should be somewhere safe and visible, and in a central location to the town so that it would benefit business in the future.”

The Skate Park and BMX Strategy in its entirety identifies more than $2 million of works over a 10-year period, with the funding of these projects to be considered as part of the council’s Draft Forward Capital Works Program.

Mr Davine said the council would also seek support from external funding bodies to deliver the projects.

The strategy took community feedback into account after a consultation period beginning in March.

Originally published at Pakenham Gazette.

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About Alana Mitchelson

Alana Mitchelson is a journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @AlanaMitchelson.

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