Velodrome fate sealed


By Cam Lucadou-Wells

The Maurice Kirby Velodrome is set for demolition – but not for at least another six months.

At a Greater Dandenong Council meeting on 10 December, councillors quashed a motion to give cyclists until March to establish a club at the Noble Park cycling track.

This gave the green light for the $11 million Parkfield Reserve masterplan, in which the track makes way for an extended cricket oval and a second soccer pitch.

The council will now investigate the feasibility of a regional-scale velodrome at another site.

Just like debate has raged in recent months, mayor Roz Blades tried to hose down a barrage of heckling, jeers and applause from the public gallery.

The sides were divided between pro-velodrome cyclists and members of Parkfield Reserve’s cricket, soccer and tennis clubs in favour of the masterplan.

Cr Matthew Kirwan, who had proposed a delay on deciding the velodrome’s fate, said the decision was “illogical”.

“No demolishing of the track would happen this financial year – (so) why the rush then?”

According to the council, demolition works for the five-year project cannot be funded until the 2019-20 financial year.

Cr Kirwan noted the recent re-formation of Noble Park Dandenong Cycling Club, with a submitted list of 87 members as well as the backing of Cycling Victoria.

“In the end a sport – cycling – and 87 participants have been ignored despite only having one facility for them in Greater Dandenong.

“It is only fair in my mind that we hold off until the end of March next year and give the new club … decent time to produce a plan with targets outlining how they plan to grow.”

Cr Tim Dark noted the lack of locals on the membership list – one living as far away as Bacchus Marsh.

According to the list, 43 of the 87 members were from Greater Dandenong – though Cr Kirwan noted many local clubs were in a similar situation.

Cr Dark produced letters from Cricket Victoria, Dandenong District Cricket Association and Football Victoria in support of the masterplan.

He said the council shouldn’t “hold up” the needs of the expanding Parkfield Cricket Club and Noble Park United Soccer Club.

Noble Park Tennis Club was also in need of a new pavilion, Cr Dark said.

“The masterplan is something that’s been going for so long.

“We just need to get it done and finalised so the people of Noble Park can get the best facilities possible.”

Cr Sean O’Reilly said the masterplan offered the “largest community benefit”, supporting the three existing clubs at Parkfield Reserve.

In comparison, there was “no concrete evidence” of cycling activity at the track, he said.

“That is the evidence and our default view should be therefore to support those sports that are growing.

“I’ll be the first to support cyclists in Greater Dandenong if and when they can show the real numbers.”