Club identifies sites for mountain bike park

Council-owned land in the hills of Cringila has been identified as a potential venue for the Wollongong Mountain Bike Club by Wollongong City Council, but there are still plenty of jumps to clear before the vision is realised.

Blackbutt Forest in the neighbouring Shellharbour City Council area has also emerged as a potential location.

Earlier this year, Wollongong councillors unanimously supported a motion from councillors Michelle Blicavs and George Takacs to have staff investigate the feasibility of setting up a mountain bike park in Wollongong, citing the economic and health benefits of the sport.

Mountain bike riders 'won't tear up bush'

The Wollongong Mountain Bike Club was based at Appin for more than a decade, but the group found itself homeless late last year after the Tharawal Local Aboriginal Land Council denied riders permission for continuing use of the land.

A report to be tabled at tonight's Wollongong council meeting researched two sites, one at Mount Brown, which despite "great potential" was excluded on environmental grounds, and another at Cringila Hills. The Cringila site was deemed worthy of further consideration, but additional funding and research will be needed, as well as discussions with Sydney Water to explore options for using adjoining land.

In the meantime, Blackbutt Forest in the neighbouring Shellharbour City Council area has emerged as an option for the club, after it was approached by Shellharbour Deputy Mayor Paul Rankin.

Mountain bike club spokesman Scott Carson said the organisation was grateful that both councils were looking to assist it.

With regards to Cringila Hills site, the club would await the outcome of the negotiations with Sydney Water before taking the next steps required, Mr Carson said.

A downhill track was possible at this location and there were possibilities for other types of tracks.

In regards to Blackbutt Forest, the club planned to hold an exhibition ride in the forest early in the new year to show Shellharbour council what the sport was about.

Mr Carson said an escarpment location, such as that at Appin, was ideal as a home for mountain biking, but the club was keen to get its monthly race meetings back up and running and both locations could assist with that goal.

File photo.

File photo.

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