Bike track lessons

The Adelaide Hills Council’s recent decision to trial a new BMX track in Stirling is both a win for locals and evidence of what can be achieved when communities and local government work together.
The council was left in a difficult position late last year, when safety concerns raised by Crafers residents about unauthorised BMX jumps in the area left it with little option but to remove the makeshift structures and close the track.
The move, which came a few months after the same children had requested a permanent BMX track in the area, caused outcry among the affected parents and children who felt the council was working against them.
But the pro-active attitude of the impacted families and the willingness of the council to work with them to find the best solution has resulted in a positive outcome for all.
Dozens of children will benefit from the new track which, thanks to the support of parents and local businesses that have promised to help with its development, will likely come at little expense to ratepayers.
The track, which is being designed in collaboration with local children, will encourage them to keep active and spend more time outdoors, away from television, computer and phone screens.
But the process of working with the council to achieve their goals will also help to engage them with their community and council, while teaching them to take ownership of the shared spaces and resources they use.
Some concerns have been raised about the appropriateness of the memorial reserve as a location for the BMX track.
But the track is subject to a 12-month trial period, giving the BMX enthusiasts an opportunity to prove themselves by showing respect for the park, the service women’s memorial and the park’s close neighbors.
Other recreation facilities across the Hills, such as the hugely popular skate park in Strathalbyn, demonstrate the benefits that can be enjoyed when young people are engaged with their community and take responsibility for facilities.
Now is the time for local children to take this opportunity with both hands and do the right thing by the council and the near neighbors, which could result in the new facility being available for many future generations to enjoy.