Ballina shire council has thrown its support behind efforts to build a mountain bike track in a quarry just outside of Alstonville.
The Northern Rivers Dirty Wheels Mountain Bike Club had approached the council seeking funding assistance to build an access road into the quarry, a few kilometres east of Alstonville on the Bruxner Highway.
The council heard that the club had received a quote of $105,000 to build the road, but when that contractor pulled out, another quote received was $140,000.
A review of the plans by the council’s technical staff found that if the council delivered the project, it would cost $83,000, and there would be no need to pay a Works Authorisation Deed to the RMS as the council was exempt as a road authority.
Staff recommended that the money could be drawn from Landfill and Resource Management Reserve.
Dave Hegerty, president of the mountain bike club, addressed the councillors during the public access session at last week’s meeting, detailing the health and community benefits of the proposed facility.
Mr Hegerty also pointed out that the Federal Government had recently approved a $15,000 grant for the facility, which would largely be constructed with members’ volunteer labour.
The council heard that the club had grown from 45 to 109 members in the past three years, although it was estimated there were up to 500 regular mountain bike riders in the local area.
The club conducts regular social rides, and is also actively fundraising for the new facility.
Mr Hegarty said if the council agreed to be the contractor for the work a requirement to post a bond with the RMS, equal to the value of the works, would not be necessary.
When it came time to vote, the councillors passed the motion to support the club unanimously.