Members of Dubbo Cycle Club are worried 130 years of history will disappear if Dubbo Regional Council goes ahead with a plan to remove the cycling track from Victoria Park.
On Monday Dubbo MP Troy Grant and DRC administrator Michael Kneipp announced an $8 million upgrade to No.1 Oval at Victoria which includes widening the field to make it suitable for holding Sheffield Shield and Big Bash cricket games.
In order to do that, the cycle track would have to be removed to extend the grass field to the fence.
Dubbo Regional Council has said it will find an alternative venue for the club, and DRC director of community and recreation Murray Wood said at Monday’s announcement the club would not be left without a track.
In 2012, council developed a master plan for a recreational facility at Regand Park that included a velodrome and flat cycle tracks.
Wood said that plan would be looked at, but there would also be consultation with groups including the cycle club to ensure needs were met.
“Once you have the money, then you can take a step back and work with those cycling groups,” he said.
“We have a number of different options, there are a number of greenfield sites we can use, and some existing ovals as well.”
Dubbo Cycle Club president Matthew Gilbert said he had spoken with a number of club members and heard their concerns.
“It’s fantastic this funding has been made available but there is a great history around the track at Victoria Park and it would be a shame to see that ripped up,” he said.
“It’s been there for 130 years, it’s regarded as the premier flat track in Australia, and has produced some amazing athletes including Bob Spears, who was a world champion.”
Gilbert said it was important that regardless of where the club found itself in the future, there was no disruption to training while any move was happening.
“Dubbo was the most successful club of any in Australia last season, with 24 gold medals, 27 silver and 17 bronze so it’s important that training and competitions aren’t affected,” he said.
NSW Cycling CEO Phil Ayres was aware of the situation that was occurring in Dubbo and on Tuesday he was in contact with the club and with council to ensure the best interests of cycling were represented.
“Obviously the club is anxious about the proposed changes but I have spoken to council and there is going to be significant investment into a new facility. If we were talking about no replacement or low investment, that would be a big concern,” he said.
“There is a great heritage around the track at Dubbo and that is one of the biggest concerns but Dubbo is such a strong producer of talent and we wouldn’t want to see anything affect that.”
The advantage of a flat track over a slopped velodrome is that it is better for training junior riders, and Mr Ayres said it would be important to find a happy medium when and if a new track was built.
“You wouldn’t put youngsters on an Olympic velodrome but ideally you wouldn’t have seniors training on a flat track so a midpoint probably needs to be found.”
Mr Ayres said he was pleased council had indicated a willingness to work with all parties to get a positive result for everyone.