By Justin Flynn
A group of Ocean Grove teenagers is pleading with the City of Greater Geelong to leave its temporary bike jumps alone until a permanent facility is built.
The temporary jumps, located just off Begola Wetlands, draw about a dozen local teens each day.
The Voice understands the city is currently in the process of reviewing several makeshift bike jumps and tracks in the region, which includes the self-made jumps located at the wetlands.
Jem, 14, helped build the jumps with mates Griffin, Finn and Will.
Jem fears the temporary jumps will be dismantled, leaving young mountain bike enthusiasts without an avenue to pursue their hobby.
“We would like the council to not destroy the jumps until they build an actual bike park for us for all ages and abilities and actually build a track like they have been planning for a while,” Jem said.
“We think a good spot is near Blue Waters Lake because there is so much open space that is not being used or in Woodlands because there is already plenty of dirt there.
“In lockdown, for me personally, bike riding has been a way of getting exercise and getting out of the house and I’m sure it’s the same as many other kids.
“We want to help the council design a track for all ages and abilities. We also have an online petition with 300 signatures (chng.it/gKhCcP7hbV).”
City of Greater Geelong deputy mayor Trent Sullivan said council had allocated $100,000 in the 2021-22 budget for a new bike track in Ocean Grove and is proposing a designated bike discovery area in Barwon Heads through the Barwon Heads Village Park Masterplan.
“Exercising and hanging out with friends is vital for our wellbeing – and we know this is particularly important during COVID-19,” he said.
“We continue to encourage young people to embrace outdoor sports such as BMX and mountain bike riding and to seek out safe, fit-for-purpose tracks and trails to pursue this interest.
“We understand there is interest from the community to create additional facilities for mountain bike and BMX riders in the region, particularly for more advanced users and those living on the Bellarine.
“As part of our new 2021-25 Our Community Plan, we’ve committed to providing more facilities that foster positive health and wellbeing and we are working to identify new opportunities for young people to enjoy this sport and outdoor activities more broadly.
“The design of the new bike park in Ocean Grove is set to commence shortly. We will be engaging local young riders in the design process to ensure they are involved in shaping this bike track.”