By Brian Wood, Western Advocate
BATHURST’S reputation as a mecca for cycling is about to be enhanced with work to start on the $5 million bike park on the Vale Road.
A tender for the project was awarded during confidential proceedings at Wednesday night’s ordinary monthly meeting of council.
It will be a staged development with the initial phase costing $1.28 million and the tender going to Bruce Gollard’s local company EODO Pty Ltd.
Included in stage one will be a velodrome and education centre, amenities block, some car parking and the establishment of services such as sewer, water and electricity.
Councillor Greg Westman said yesterday the project was going to result in another major addition to the region’s sporting infrastructure.
“It vindicates Bathurst’s reputation as a major cycling area and a sport and recreation hub,” he said. “You only have to look at the growth of the Blayney to Bathurst [B2B] ride to realise this.
“The region has also produced champions such as Mark Renshaw and Dean and Blair Windsor and now we have a crop of up and coming youngsters who are making a name for themselves.”
Cr Westman said the education centre would be located in the centre of the velodrome.
“It’s a teaching facility which is a bit like a mini roadway where handling skills and road safety can be taught to juniors as well as being available to the schools,” he said.
Cr Westman said that at this stage the development is expected to be rolled out over three, or possibly four, stages.
He said stage two would see the addition of a kermesse course (road racing track covering 1.2km) and the start of the mountain bike course.
“Stage three is for a BMX track, the completion of the mountain bike course and the finalisation of the car paring area,” Cr Westman said. “The important thing about all of this is safety. Kids can ride their bikes and learn at the same time without the fear of traffic.
“This gives parents peace of mind and tells them that taking on cycling can be done is a safe environment.”
Bathurst cycling star Mark Renshaw told the Western Advocate yesterday the bike park was a “big deal” for the city. “A facility like this means there’s exciting times ahead for cycling in Bathurst,” he said.
“It confirms we’re a major destination and a hub for the sport.
“Cycling is continuing to grow here and has evolved to the stage where a new facility out of town and away from the sportsground was needed. It’s a natural progression.”
Mr Renshaw said there are heaps of young kids coming through in local cycling ranks and they will be the ones to really benefit from this type of initiative.
Dated - 24.11.2012