KIDS being kids — or a hazard to the community?
That’s the question after Albury Council this week demolished a makeshift BMX track a group of children built themselves in a bushland scrub near Bungambrawatha Creek in Lavington.
A group of about 10 kids from the local area, all aged between 12 and 16, had slowly been working together to build a small series of jumps and mounds along a naturally worn-away dirt path between the creek and the proper, asphalted walking track in Heathwood Park.
The council has said it had to bulldoze the track flat after receiving complaints from the Riding for the Disabled Group and one member of the public.
Rhys Remington, 13, was one of the group who built the track and said it felt “terrible” to see council workers knock it down.
Rhys said kids of all ages were riding along the track, with the older boys helping others as young as five with their skills.
“Me and a mate saw them (the council) come — they said, ‘you can build jumps anywhere but we’re just going to knock them down again’,” he said.
“We just wanted somewhere to ride with some jumps ... all the kids were thankful for it.”
Nearby resident Nicole McDonnell has taken her five-year-old son Finn to ride along the track with the older children, and said it was “just good old-fashioned fun”.
“I thought it was a great thing they were doing, instead of being inside all day,” she said.
“They’re creating something themselves and are able to say ‘Look what we’ve done’... they’re out of the way of the general public and using a space that’s just empty, and not really disturbing any of the trees or nature.
“And this is an age group where there’s just not as much for them to do.”
A spokeswoman for Albury Council said council officers had inspected the area and discovered large mounds of dirt with sticks and timber protruding from them and holes up to 50 centimetres deep, as well as cans and other rubbish strewn around the area.
The spokeswoman said Riding for the Disabled had contacted the council and requested the track’s removal as the area was frequently used by its clients, and in the past week, an elderly man almost fell into a hole.
“Council officers acted immediately and levelled the ground to mitigate any further risk to public safety,” she said.
“Within a kilometre from this area is a dedicated BMX facility at Black Range Reserve which has recently undergone a revamp.
“Additionally, the council has been working with the mountain bike club and NSW Crown Lands to repair, upgrade and establish one of the nation’s best mountain bike courses on Nail Can Hill Reserve.”
Neither Mrs McDonnell nor Rhys were aware of the nearby Black Range Reserve track, but Rhys said the Nail Can Hill course was “not good for little kids” and riders needed a mountain bike to use it.