Youths’ bike track plea

Freddie Imhoff and his friends are campaigning for a bike track in Barwon Heads. (Justin Flynn)

By Justin Flynn

A group of Barwon Heads students are pleading with the City of Greater Geelong to construct a bike track in the town.

The group of about 15 locals, ranging in age from eight to 13, presented their case at last week’s council meeting and have a petition that has attracted more than 250 signatures.

Freddie Imhoff, 13, said the youngsters decided they would rather pursue the request using the proper channels than continue to build their own jumps and ramps at various places around Barwon Heads.

“We’ve been building bike jumps all around Barwon Heads, down to the river and back up to Village Park,” he said.

“We tried building some stuff with dirt and some wood and then it ended up getting really sandy and we didn’t have anywhere to go. Lots of kids were falling over on the sand and it was really slippery.

“Now we are trying to get a bike path running. A community track where kids can come and have fun on their bikes and hit jumps.”

Freddie spoke to council at its Highton meeting on April 27 and mayor Stephanie Asher met with the group this week in the town to discuss options.

“She (Cr Asher) loves this idea and we really want to go ahead with it as a plan because we’ve been wanting to do this for years and it’s a big dream of ours,” Freddie said.

“We’ve had a really good response. They (council) were really impressed about the idea.”

The group’s preferred location is at Village Park, behind the playground known as ‘Pirate Park’.

“There is quite a bit of space that people don’t seem to be using,” Freddie said.

“It’s close to the skate park. All the kids want it to go ahead and all the adults want it to go ahead instead of kids being stuck at home on their screens rather than being outside on their bike and hitting jumps.”

Freddie’s mother Georgie said the parents of the children were right behind the idea.

Cr Asher commended the group on their initiative to talk to council in-person.

“We were impressed to see Freddie and his friends make the effort to come to our council meeting in Highton and speak to the councillors so confidently,” she said.

“It was great to catch up with them again in Barwon Heads this week. It’s really positive to see young people taking an interest in the future of their town and advocating for improved facilities.

“I’ve encouraged the boys to have their say on the draft Village Park Master Plan, to make it clear that they’d like to see the proposed bike track included in the final plan and that they’re keen to be involved in the design.”

One of the recommended actions in the draft plan is to: “Develop a designated bike discovery area in partnership with the community to support the creation, use and maintenance of a safe and challenging bike experience for kids in the area north of the playspace.”

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