HUNDREDS of people marked the first World Bicycle Day by gathering at Anglesea Bike Park to show their support for keeping the park where it is.
Sunday’s rally, which attracted riders of all ages and abilities, was the latest expression of community opposition to the proposal in the draft Anglesea plan to rezone 13 hectares of Alcoa-owned land (of which the park occupies about one hectare) for housing and tourist accommodation.
The bike park’s lease on the land expires at the end of the month.
At last month’s Surf Coast Shire meeting, a report to councillors found an investigation into alternate locations found the existing site was the best one, and councillors resolved to ask Alcoa to lease the land to the bike park on a month-by-month basis until the rezoning process was finished, and then offer $500,000 to buy the land should Alcoa still want to go ahead.
Bike park advocates say Alcoa should donate the land for free; a claim repeated at Sunday’s rally.
Mike Bodsworth, president of the bike park’s committee of management, said he applauded the shire’s resolution.
“It took them a little while to come to that position but we’re extremely glad they did… it’s a big help to us both practically and morally from here on in.”
He said “the worst-case scenario” was that the bike park would be bulldozed in July.
“We don’t see why you can’t keep one hectare out of a 13-hectare proposal if in fact – and it’s a big if – you get approval to go ahead with the other part of the proposal, which a lot of people also think stinks; the case has been extremely flimsy.
“The land’s not zoned residential, it never has been, and Alcoa’s never had any entitlement to develop this land.”
Corangamite federal member Sarah Henderson also spoke at the rally, saying it was “very disappointing to see the council working with the state government and Alcoa, treating the destruction of this bike park as a fait accompli”.
“This is an asset you should not have to fight to save.”