By Steph McNicol
A petition and a push by the Doreen community has resulted in the City of Whittlesea council agreeing to fund recreational BMX jumps.
The specifics of the jumps are still being finalised, but petition organiser Linda Jablonski said council worked hard to involve the teenagers and hear out their ideas.
“We got a grant, and they’re doing the feasibility study at the moment, and scouting locations,” Ms Jablonski said.
“They’ve been getting the kids involved and making sure they’re happy with everything.”
Ms Jablonski said before restrictions were back in place, five of the teenagers gathered together for an online meeting with council.
“They all got to have a say and we had a big chat. [Council] asked the kids questions, the kids introduced themselves, they all were asking questions and came up with ideas,” she said.
“The meeting went for about two hours and the kids felt really good about it. There’s a team of about 20 at council working behind the scenes.”
Ms Jablonski said council gave her a timeline of about 12 months for completion of the project.
Council’s manager of leisure and community facilities Ben Waterhouse said council planned to explore possibilities to build the jumps, and had allocated money in this years’ budget to explore the possibility of a dirt jump facility within the Doreen area.
“BMX riders passionate about dirt jumps are encouraged to be part of online workshops in the coming months, which will help develop plans for a permanent dirt jump track in Doreen. Council would especially like to hear from any young female BMX riders interested in the project,” he said.
Mr Waterhouse said community workshops would be hosted online in September, followed by broader online community consultations in October and December.
“Council removed some community-built dirt jumps earlier this year at Hilltop Park which were causing an environmental impacts and safety concerns within the reserve,” he said.
“Not all open spaces are a good place to build jumps. We need to think about the safety of riders and passers-by and protecting some really important plants and animals in the reserves.
“If you live locally and love the idea of helping make this dirt jump track a reality, register your interest by emailing email@example.com.”