By Cam Lucadou-Wells
An 11th-hour meeting has been arranged between Greater Dandenong councillors and cyclists seeking to save the Parkfield Reserve cycling track.
Cr Maria Sampey invited Cycling Victoria general manager Craig Eastwood and pro-velodrome cyclists Kim Nguyen and Boyd Fraser to state their case on 3 December.
Mr Eastwood told Star News that it was important to retain and resurface the run-down and cracked Maurice Kirby Velodrome as a safe, controlled cycling place.
A similar resurfacing project at Preston cost in the “low $100,000s”.
“We need places in the metropolitan region where people can learn to ride and be active.
“At a velodrome, there are no cars, everyone rides in the same direction. It’s a safer and controlled environment.”
Within two months, a cycling club with a coach and commissaire and the rollout of the AustCycle education program , he said.
It would be a community hub hosting cycling clubs and bike-ownership groups – the only such velodrome in the region, he said.
The controversy has ignited high passions on both sides of the debate, with Parkfield Reserve’s tenant cricket, soccer and tennis clubs in strong support of the council’s masterplan.
The plan includes a desperately-needed modernised clubrooms, an extra soccer pitch and expanded cricket oval.
The cyclists meeting comes after the council voted to demolish the velodrome as part of its Parkfield Reserve masterplan on 26 November.
That decision was then put on hold by notice of a rescission motion to be tabled by Cr Matthew Kirwan.
Parkfield Cricket Club secretary David Swierzbiolek was among the recent comments on the Journal’s website and Facebook page.
He stated that the club was supportive of cycling on a proposed shared-path at the reserve.
“Very sad you would defer a decision which nearly everyone agrees with. “Especially when three sporting clubs and the community have worked together for so long, only for a handful of cyclists to register themselves as a club at the 11th hour to try and stop this.
”It now worries what holds for the future of these clubs if this decision is delayed too long.”
The matter is expected to be decided on 10 December.