The COVID-19 pandemic and State Government restrictions have greatly impacted how we live, work and play in Moonee Valley.
Since the beginning of the pandemic we’ve become aware of an increasing amount of unauthorised, makeshift bike jumps being built across Moonee Valley.
We know a lot of hard work has gone into the tracks, and how important it is for people of all ages to spend time outdoors at the moment.
We know how much some of the younger members of our community value these jumps and we listened when they told us they wanted them to remain.
However, we need to consider the wellbeing of our whole community including the safety of those making and using the jumps and the impact it’s having on our natural environment.
It’s why two weeks ago we told you we’d appointed an independent expert to carry out a formal risk assessment of jumps across Moonee Valley.
That assessment has now been completed on five of the unauthorised tracks, with the recommendation to remove some high-risk jumps and keep and continue to monitor sites where risk is currently acceptable. Risk assessment will continue to be conducted on new and existing unauthorised tracks and jumps, with consideration of safety, amenity and environmental factors, and action will be taken accordingly.
Following the advice of the independent expert we will begin removing all jumps at the following locations this week:
- Cliff Allison Reserve, Essendon
- Canterbury Street Reserve, Flemington
- Fairbairn Park, Ascot Vale
- 5 Mile Creek Reserve, Essendon
The expert found the risk of injury at Cliff Allison Reserve, Canterbury Street Reserve and Fairbairn Park was high and we have a responsibility to maintain safe open spaces.
The construction of tracks at 5 Mile Creek Reserve caused a significant amount of environmental damage and cultural heritage damage. All jumps will be removed and access will be restricted due to the proximity of the tracks to a Registered Aboriginal Site. Council is bound to protect these areas under the Aboriginal Heritage Act, 2006 & Regulations 2018, the Planning & Environment Act, 1987 and the Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Protection Act.
Tracks at Aberfeldie Park will remain while we are in the midst of a pandemic, while some tracks at Glenbervie Station Reserve will remain with only the most high-risk areas being removed. We will continue to monitor the safety and appropriateness of all other jumps including new jumps across our city and ask existing tracks aren’t modified while we do so.
Riders are encouraged to use the tracks at Fanny Reserve in Moonee Ponds.
We’re removing some of the unsafe jumps, but this is not the end of the conversation.
We’ve listened to the calls for a more permanent solution and Council staff have already started talking with community members.
As Council elections approach Council staff are restricted in what we can do. You can read more about these restrictions in the Council Election Policy. It means we can’t immediately hold consultation but plan to do so after the Council election on Saturday, 24 October. We will report back to Council later in the year with recommendations for immediate and longer-term solutions.
We will hold online consultation with young people next month so they can tell us what they want as well as asking the wider community their views on potential sites and installation options
We’re constantly trying to get the balance right between the needs of young people for outdoor recreation spaces, the wishes of our community, our responsibility to keep our open spaces safe for all to enjoy and the need to protect our precious environment and cultural heritage sites.
We’ll keep talking to you throughout this process and will strive to find a solution that suits everyone.