Community panel to help design Ocean Grove ride centre

The City of Greater Geelong will form a reference group of community members to help shape the detailed designs for a proposed district ride centre in Ocean Grove.

The ride centre, which would contain features such as dirt jumps, an asphalt pump track and a skills trail, has been proposed as an alternative to the high number of makeshift jumps being created in the town, particularly during the COVID pandemic.

It would be designed to cater for riders of all skill levels.

The City conducted an assessment of eight potential sites in Ocean Grove and identified Kingston Park as a preferred option given its size, topography, location, and existing features such as car parking and public toilets.

The proposed location, along with initial concept plans, were made available for community feedback during July and August this year.

As part of the engagement:

  • a quick poll of 351 people found 88.6 per cent of respondents were supportive of Kingston Park as the location;
  • a survey with 203 respondents found 86.7 per cent were in favour; and
  • of the formal submissions lodged, 14 were supportive and 10 were objections.

Objectors’ concerns included the potential impact on traffic and a lack of safe pedestrian and cycling connections to the site, along with the loss of open space and off-leash dog areas, and potential overflow impacts to the rest of the reserve.

The objectors were heard in person during a Submissions Review Panel on 12 October.

During its Tuesday 22 November meeting the Council, in recognition of both the general support for the location and the concerns raised by objectors, noted that Kingston Park remains the preferred location, but endorsed the formation of a Community Reference Group to assist in the detailed design.

Councillor Stephanie Asher:

A final decision on the project and its location will be made once the detailed designs have been completed.

The aim is that the detailed design process will help us understand how the matters raised by those with concerns can be addressed.

There is broad support for Kingston Park as the location and there is no question that a bike facility would be amazing particularly for the younger people of the region.

But we do need to give appropriate respect to all submitters’ views. There have been some very valid points, very well made. Notably there is a risk of irreversibly reducing safe and off-leash dog walking spaces. This would impact specific demographics so that is the kind of issue that needs to be sorted before it’s changed forever.

Once this process has taken place, the Council will be in a better position to make a fully informed final decision.

Councillor Jim Mason:

It is important for the community to learn to share the space that is available for these sorts of projects.

Children need alternative challenges that can be provided in a safe environment and I believe this centre would be one of those.

The officers have undertaken a period of community engagement and have found Kingston Park is the most suitable space for this project, but we appreciate that the needs of all must be considered.

A report with a recommendation will come before the Council by August 2023.

Further project information, including the concept designs, can be viewed on the Your Say page.

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