Earlier in the week, plans to stop the construction of a “mini-Glentress” – formally known as Skelf Bike Park – were halted by a petition from residents who opposed the plans.
But now the Braidwood Bikepark Group spokesperson Angus Calder has offered a counterargument, which follows:
We have put an enormous amount of effort put into informing and consulting local people over the last four years, including:
- Well publicised public events at the woods every year since 2012
- Letters to the 300 closest neighbours in 2013
- Letters to the 169 closest neighbours in 2014
- Tons of other public events, talks, information stalls, newsletters etc.
The project was started by a bunch of us who are unashamedly into mountain biking, both just for fun and as healthy outdoor exercise, so we are actually very proud to be involved in a project that will create great new bike play facilities in a city that sorely lacks them.
The core part of the bike park will be a 900m2 outdoor pump track designed by Claudio Caluori (the UK’s first). However, we are doing way more than just creating a cool new bike play space. We are also cleaning up a potentially lovely but badly neglected woodland, and turning it back into a green space that everyone, young and old, will actually be able to use, spend time in and enjoy. Specifically we are:
- Cleaning up all the rubbish, dog mess etc
- Getting rid of all the needles so the woods are safe again for kids & dogs to play in again
- Planting 200 new native species & fruit trees
- Installing 30 bird & bat boxes
- Installing new benches & rubbish bins
- Improving footpaths for dog walkers & runners
We have also given a lot of thought to making sure the bike facilities will benefit local young people who may not have access to their own bikes or who might not know how to cycle etc, and to this end we are putting together a fleet of BMXs that will be made available at no cost to local young people without bikes (we have ten bikes already from the very, very cool BikeStation project in Edinburgh). And we’re already seeking funding for staff to provide free bike skills classes to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Far from being evil ‘businessmen’ or ‘developers’ out to ruin a precious green space, we are a tiny charity run on a shoestring by volunteers who have put in thousands of hours of effort over four years to make the bike park happen. But right now the project really needs vocal support from the mountain biking community.
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