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Byron Shire
April 12, 2021

Proposed pump track

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Christopher Wright, Byron Bay

As a long-term ratepayer of Byron Shire Council (BSC), I have serious concerns regarding the proposed pump track at Suffolk Park.

As this proposal has already been passed by Council, I ask how this development decision sits with regard to Council’s stated commitment to a zero emissions target by 2050?

The clearing of native vegetation, then significant amounts of parent soil to be removed from the site and replaced with additional fill to create artificial hills and ramps, followed by concrete and bitumen in close proximity to a little creek, could hardly be considered to be a carbon neutral project. This for the gratification of a few.

Without doubt, at face value, this certainly appears to be a totally inappropriate development for this small community reserve at Linda Vidler Park. Any development of this site should be for the whole community of Suffolk Park, not simply a limited proposal for teenagers, many of whom will be transported to the track for a short duration visit.

Parking congestion will also increase and the expected noise level from young bike riders and skateboarders in an urban space, less than 100 metres from the nearest houses, can only be imagined.

As I understand it, the expected cost of $506,000 is for the bike and board track. This would be far better spent developing a new park adjacent to the community garden, with more native plantings, seats, garden, and bridges for the enjoyment and benefit of the entire community of Suffolk Park, at a fraction of the cost.

This whole project seems short on community consultation and rife with environmental and community disturbance issues.

The Cavanbah Centre would seem to be the only suitable location for this ill-considered proposal.

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  1. Is there a roster of letter writers charged with making the same claims each week about the Suffolk Park pump track.

    Yes let’s not have any facility in the park unless it is likely to be used by everyone. Let’s immediately rid ourselves of the tennis courts, the soccer field (taking up near half the area) the skate ramps, the patonk court and the children’s playground equipment. These could be immediately planted over with trees while a few artificial water features could provide an opportunity for the installation of bridges.

    The claims about lack of consultation seem to be on a repeat loop so please indulge a repeat of my timeline.

    The land was owned by the NSW Department of Education. When the decision was made by the state government to put the land up for sale, rather than use it for a school, the Suffolk Park community faced losing the area to the highest bidder. Very little chance of it remaining green space.

    The Suffolk Park Progress Association (SPPA) led a grass roots campaign to retain the land given the lack of recreational facilities for a growing area.

    On 23 June 2017 Council successfully settled on purchase of the land.

    A community survey was undertaken from 30 May to 27 August 2018 to inform Council of community preferences for recreational embellishments for the land. The results of this survey informed the development of the current adopted Plan of Management.

    The pump track was the most strongly supported option.

    On 13 December 2018, Council adopted the Open Space and Recreational Needs assessment action Plan. An action within this plan is the construction of a BMX/pump track within this reserve.

    Landscape architect concept plans were the subject of an exhibition period, survey and public meetings. A further survey led to the adoption in September 2019 of the POM.

    All along the community has been saying it wants a pump track as part of a multi use community hub that incorporates active and passive recreation, a park- like atmosphere with treed landscaping and meeting places. The current adopted Plan of management expressly authorises a Pump Track.

    On this basis SPPA applied for a grant for construction and received Council support. Grants were awarded on the basis of a voting system that gauged community support for a range of projects.

    Council voted to match the grant funding and further consultation occurred, re footprint and siting, that involved a public meeting and further surveys.

    The pump track design brief was for the accomodation of a wide range of age and skill levels.


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