Dubbo’s cycling track must stay: mayor

Rich history: The cycling track at No.1 Oval is widely regarded as one of the best flat tracks in NSW. Photo: FILE
Rich history: The cycling track at No.1 Oval is widely regarded as one of the best flat tracks in NSW. Photo: FILE

Dubbo mayor Ben Shields said he will work with Member for Dubbo Troy Grant to find an acceptable solution for all parties to the redevelopment of Victoria Park’s No.1 Oval.

The state government has made $8 million available to upgrade No.1 Oval, removing the cycle track to extend the cricket field to full size with a picket fence.

The plan announced by Mr Grant and Dubbo Regional Council in August involved relocating the cycle track to another location, possibly a velodrome with a nearby criterium course.

However Mr Shields said in his inaugural speech as mayor he wasn’t willing to let a 130-year-old track with a rich history be torn up.

“I’m told by the local cycle club the track is one of the oldest in Australia and was the home track of the first and long-time world champion Bob Spears,” he said.

“Numerous gold medals can be attributed to that track and it has trained many champion cyclists. I’m also told it is one of the few tracks that is designed absolutely perfectly with little work needed.

“With this in mind I will oppose any moves to move the cycle track.”

On Friday Mr Grant said he had met with representatives of the Dubbo Cycle Club about their concerns with moving the track away from No.1.

"They were very frank in their discussions, and I applaud them for coming to me and having the chat,” Mr Grant said.

"But the funding has been allocated for a very clear purpose and the government won't be swaying away from that."

Mr Shields said he wanted to try and come up with an option that would work for all parties.

“I’m quite excited to be able to sit down with Troy when he gets back to have a full and frank discussion on these matters.

“Troy needs an A-plus and congratulations when it comes to securing grant money for our city, there’s no doubt about that.

“But we need to fine tune this and we need to have a frank discussion about what we can and can’t do with sporting facilities in Dubbo.”

The proposed upgrades are designed to make it possible to attract Sheffield Shield and Big Bash games to the city and Mr Shields suggested upgrades to No.2 or No.3 Oval may be a viable alternative.

Despite past tensions between Mr Grant and Mr Shields, the new mayor said he wanted to have “a close working relationship” with Mr Grant and would look to organise a meeting with him as soon as possible to discuss Dubbo’s future.