Motorbike park finds right gear for success

By Charmayne Allison

MOAMA may soon be home to a motorbike ride park.

Despite objections from residents.

Murray River Council approved a development application recently for the park to be opened at 686 Perricoota Road, Moama.

The site has already been used by applicant and former competitive racer Brett Tomkins for personal training throughout the past 12 years.

It has also been open to the public for some time without required consent of council.

But the ex-superbike rider said he now wants to give back to the community by opening a family-friendly ride park.

‘‘So many kids in the area have nowhere to ride, so unfortunately the only other alternative is for them to ride — often with very little safety gear — through the bush where it’s illegal, there’s an increased risk of fires and it’s isolated from emergency services if anything goes wrong,’’ Anthony Roeszler, speaking on behalf of applicant Brett Tomkins, said.

‘‘The ride park will offer a safe, controlled environment where children can learn to ride motorbikes with less danger to local residents and to local property.’’

Mr Roeszler added the ride park would be a significant attraction for both residents and visitors.

‘‘Dirtbike riders flock to anywhere with good facilities. So by opening this, we’ll have many more people flocking to Echuca-Moama,’’ he said.

The proposed park will have set opening hours of 10am to 4pm, limited to weekends and public holidays, while the number of riders using the track at any one time will be restricted to 10 to minimise noise impacts on surrounding properties.

The applicant said dust management strategies, car parking facilities, public amenities and on-site first aid care would be adopted and a ‘‘landscaping buffer’’ would be planted around the site to limit noise.

Despite these conditions, a number of residents are dead-against the proposal, citing dust, noise and traffic as primary concerns.

‘‘A ride park isn’t suited to the area,’’ resident Brendan Hogan said at the meeting.

‘‘It’s located in a precarious position and I believe the noise and dust would be quite dangerous. Plus it’s a fire hazard, as there’s a great risk of sparks from the bikes.’’

While director of environment and planning Simon Arkinstall noted the objections, he said the proposal complied with all relevant planning criteria and had the potential to provide positive economic and social impacts to the community.

‘‘But if we find activities at the park are exceeding the limits, we will taken the correct course of action, which may mean shutting it down,’’ he said.

Councillors were divided on the issue, with councillor Geoff Wise echoing residents’ concerns.

‘‘I like the concept, but I think it’s in the wrong place,’’ he said.

‘‘As a council, we’re overlooking that in six to eight years there’ll be houses within a few hundred metres of there. This will become a problem later and we’ll have everyone trying to close it down.’’

However, councillor Gen Campbell quickly quashed Cr Wise’s objections.

‘‘You’re looking through a crystal ball. This is the here and now,’’ she said.

‘‘I’m very impressed with the benefits of this proposal, And while I’m concerned about the noise, the ride park is near the water where noise from speed boats would be much more intrusive.

‘‘I think it’s an excellent idea to keep kids learning in a safe environment.’’

The motion was carried 4-3.