By Jade Lawton and
A group of Wattle Tree Road residents told the gazette last week that there had been little community consultation in plans for the track, which they said was much bigger than expected.
But the council has collected letters of support from about a dozen local groups and maintains the project has been regularly advertised in the town’s quarterly newsletter.
The council’s general manager of community wellbeing Fiona Hodges said the council was now applying for modifications to the track.
“This project was seen as a great opportunity for local children. It is essential that there are activities for our young people in Bunyip and BMX is a very popular sport,” Ms Hodges said.
“We’ve recently had contact with some members of the community in regard to this new facility and have undertaken inspections of the works to ensure the finished product meets local needs.
“As a result, modifications will be undertaken to reduce the size of elements of the track.”
Cr Pearson said that a dam on the site, which residents said posed a drowning risk for children, would be “fenced completely around and have padlocked gates”.
The public gallery was full at Monday night’s council meeting, with several residents submitting questions for the council.
Kylie Griffiths asked why the track, which is supposed to be for local children, was advertised on two BMX websites, ‘attracting attention from northern Melbourne and even interstate’.
Ms Hodges replied that council could not control the content of BMX blogs.
“It was stated by Bill Pearson at the information session for Wattle Tree Road residents, that it was not safe for children to cross the railway lines to get to the BMX track, therefore it was not built near the footy grounds. So, why is it safe enough for children to cross the rail-lines to get to school, footy, cricket, basketball in the new $2 million stadium but not for a BMX track?” Ms Griffiths asked.
Ms Hodges said Cr Pearson denied saying this at the meeting, which prompted protest from the gallery.
Another resident, Norah Griffiths, said two letters of questions had been “disregarded” by the council.
Ms Hodges said the project had generated a lot of interest and thanked residents for their feedback.
“We will continue to work with the community to resolve any issues and complete this important facility. It is important to us that we get it right for BMX enthusiasts and the wider community,” she said.
By Jade Lawton and