Inner-west cycling enthusiasts have set the wheels in motion for the west’s first downhill mountain bike course.
A group of keen riders say their plan for the underused Quarry Park in Footscray would be a boon for locals and draw visitors from across Melbourne.
John Symons, one of the key drivers of the plan, said a similar course just created in Geelong has generated a huge buzz.
“The council have spent the past few months working on it and, even though it’s not officially open yet, they are already having hundreds of people flock to it,” he said.
“It’s attracting all ages, from kids to adults. This would be the perfect place for a similar thing in Footscray. The economic benefits to the area would be enormous.”
Maribyrnong council wants public feedback on a draft masterplan for Quarry Park, a former quarry and landfill site.
The council has allocated $1million in its 2016-17 budget to revitalising the site, with the masterplan describing a large, elevated open space with spectacular views of the Maribyrnong River and city skyline.
“The long term vision for the site is to create a dramatic, sculpted landscape with a variety of informal and passive open spaces, while preserving the views,” the masterplan states.
Mr Symons said The Hill course in Geelong has been built for only $400,000, and a similar project would help revive Quarry Park while encouraging people to be more active.
“The experience from Geelong has been amazing; they say they have never had such positive feedback on any other infrastructure project,” he said.
“Quarry Park is an underutilised park at the moment. It’s all about passive recreation in the draft plan … they’re not really encouraging active use of the area.”
Mr Symons said the site is easy to access via the bike path along the Maribyrnong River.
“There is definitely a demand for this sort of thing; it would be great for kids and women and a range of skill levels,” he said.
“I could see it as a way of kickstarting a western suburbs junior cycling club, and to get more kids cycling in this area.”
A petition that is calling on Maribyrnong council to consider the proposal has already attracted more than 60 signatures.