“The whole community got out to help us prepare the site, mow out the track, plumb and drain it properly before excavation. The kids even participated in a workshop with the adults to design the track from their point of view.”Eloise O’Brien
A group of local older kids, led by Quinn O’Kane, in Boolarra grew tired of doing laps of the township on their bikes and approached local resident Brent O’Brien and his wife Eloise for help. The kids knew Brent had a digger and was a BMX rider himself, and they wanted a place where they could practice their own stunt bike skills.
The idea grew and Eloise got on board to help Quinn find a suitable place for the BMX bike track. Beginning with community consultation, they held a public meeting, attended by over 100 people, regarding the track and circulated a written survey for support that gained over 200 signatures. This motivated the community to contact Latrobe City Council to get moving and push ahead to build a track for the kids.
Truckloads of help
With help from the federal “Stronger Communities Program” Mirboo North and District Community Bank, the Community Foundation, local businesses and people, the planning, development and consultation took over 18 months. The project was approved in March 2018 and within a couple of weeks the track was in place, thanks to the generous help of many local community members.
The track was plumbed by Strzelecki Plumbing and dug out by Prosper Valley Excavations, with tradesmen donating their time, equipment and pipes.
Eloise O’Brien said that when she was approached by local boy Quinn O’Kane who asked for help to create a BMX track in the bush, she thought it would be a better idea to look for an open safe public place in the middle of Boolarra township, where the older kids could play on their bikes.
“Quinn told me that the older kids wanted a dirt track where they could do their whoopsies, rollers and berms, so it had bumps and hurdles that would challenge them,” she said.
After in depth community consultation between the Latrobe City Council, Boolarra Community Development Group and many other organisations and people associated with the project, the kids helped to design the circuit itself. Eloise said it was great to get the kids point of view and to see them draw it out.
“It’s wonderful that older kids in the town have a sensible alternative to sitting at home. We see them coming across with their bikes to meet their friends after school and on the weekends. Families that take the rail trail have activities for all age groups to greet them in the park,” Eloise says there can be up to 20 kids playing on the circuit at a time.
“The Latrobe Valley Streetgames also comes from 4.30-.5.30pm on a Thursday night to do activities with the kids and we see lots of kids that have a play on their way to footy or netball.”
Opened for Easter Holidays
The Boolarra community opened and launched the track just as the Easter school holidays began in 2018. Many kids and their parents have since rolled down to Boolarra to have a go at the jumps, rollers and berms.
Benefitting local tourism as an added feature of the park, it has quickly become a perfect meeting point for people to catch up and families to hang out. Kids have practised their skills, and continue to find new challenges in different areas of the track.
Boolarra BMX Park
The Boolarra BMX track has been designed by local young people with professional input from experienced BMX riders, track builders and landscapers, exclusively for the Centenary Park site in Boolarra. It was part funded by the Community Foundation.
The track itself is a 4-metre wide, groomed circuit featuring various jumps, tabletops, rollers and berms. Some of the jumps feature a split-level track to accommodate for varied skill level.
It is a family friendly track, suitable for the littlest on their balance bike, to the biggest on their BMX stunt bikes.