Boolarra BMX Track – Official Opening
We have featured the Boolarra BMX track project before in this newsletter, highlighting it as a fantastic example of a community giving its time and energy to develop a space for their young people. Well, the final pieces of the puzzle came together just before the Easter holidays, Latrobe City Council approved the plan and we were delighted to be one of the co-funders together with the Mirboo North & District Community Bank and the federal ‘Stronger Communities Program’.
Projects like this are not for the faint hearted and this has been in planning, development and consultation for over 18 months before it went to the Shire for approval. As Eloise O’Brien said at the opening, ‘it’s a good thing I won’t take no for an answer!’. In the end her persistence and patience paid off. The project was approved by Latrobe City Council in mid March and within a week the track was in place… hear from Eloise O’Brien about how it came together in the end:
The Boolarra BMX track was in full motion as the Easter school holidays began. Hordes of kids and their parents have rolled down to Boolarra to have a go at the jumps, rollers and berms. It has quickly become a perfect meeting point for folk to catch up and families to hang out. Kids have quickly honed their skills, and continue to find new challenges in different areas of the track.
Once council gave the go ahead, the track was built within week! Just the build was a great experience in community engagement as lots of people from Boolarra and surrounds stopped in to have a look as the track took shape, always impressed and encouraging. Passersby helped to put up the temporary fencing and dismantle it… Some fabulous people happened to come by as the post and rail fence was starting and rolled up their sleeves until the job was done… What a great community!
Riding on the BMX track is a family friendly activity ideal for beginners and little ones as well as experienced riders. We have had some great stunt riders show us how much fun can be had! With the dual track in place, it accommodates those preferring a gentler run, while bigger jumps run alongside it for those riders trying to get some air.
Over the holidays, some days saw upwards of 20 kids on the track at once… and the track has held up superbly. Brent O’Brien has done a great job building the track and has volunteered to do the track maintenance and fine tuning too, as the track will continue to move a touch and edges and jumps will need attention now and then. We want to keep it dynamic, challenging and fun so the kids keep on lapping.
The track was officially opened on April 8th 2018 by Latrobe City Councilor Graeme Middlemiss. The event was well intended despite the rain and mud. We were joined by Marg Thomas and Matt Gleeson from the Mirboo North and District Community Bank, as well as Ruth Rogan and Viv Williams of Mirboo North and District Community Foundation, both of which organisations were generous supporters and integral to the realization of the project. On behalf of Boolarra Community Development group I thank these two local organizations for the fabulous job they do providing opportunities and enabling community driven pursuits. The project also received funding from Darren Chester’s Stronger Communities Program; we believe the Boolarra BMX track has certainly strengthened the district and our communities.
And now for the important ‘thank you’s:
The BMX track has had truckloads of help from the get-go. First and foremost, we would love to thank the Boolarra Community Development Program for having faith in the kids, their ideas and their potential. Thanks to Quinn O’Kane for planting the seed; for having the vision to get a track in his hometown. Thanks to Colin Brick for his go get ‘em attitude. Thanks to Matt Ryan for his negotiations, footwork and logistics. Thanks to Dorry Caldwell and David Wardill for donating their machinery. Thanks to Steve Plath and Peter Vander Reyden for their help. Thanks to the Boolarra Post Office, Boolarra Top Shop, Prosper Valley Gravel, Boolarra Primary School, Boolarra CFA and the Boolarra, Mirboo North and Yinnar communities for their continued support of the Boolarra BMX Track. Thanks to Latrobe City Council for seeing the merit and magic in kids. And a final huge thanks to Brent O’Brien of Prosper Valley Excavations for donating the time, machinery and expertise to build the track.
The final message – it can be done. If you have an idea for change in your community, get out there and share your idea to start something special. What’s next?
BMX Track Subcommittee
Boolarra Community Development Group.