BMX bike track derailed
By DAWN COHEN
CALLUM PRIOR got a brand new BMX bike for Christmas, but the Bangalow youth may have trouble practising bike jumps, thanks to a rail corporation order.
On Wednesday morning, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) ordered council contractors to flatten illegal bike jumps built on a former goods yard in Bangalow by the 17-year-old and some of his friends.
"We built them through hard labour," the Year 12 Byron Bay High School student said.
"We knew this was coming, but it's devastating. There is nothing else to do in Bangalow."
About six months ago, the youths used pocket money to buy shovels and a wheelbarrow to build the mounds behind the former Bangalow railway station.
Since then up to 20 young men have met daily to practise bike jumps.
Annette West, mother of Callan, 16, an initiator of the scheme, said she supported the youths.
"It has been good to see the boys do something for themselves," she said.
Callan West said council workers levelled four mounds before he and his mates saved the remaining three by standing on the mounds and throwing their bikes on them.
Because of their protest By- ron Shire Council has refused to fulfil ARTC orders to dismantle the jumps.
"After the incident the council advised ARTC we would not fulfil the contract, given community issues," said mayor Cr Jan Barham.
David Marchant, ARTC chief executive officer, said the clearance was ordered because the site may be contaminated with toxic substances and because of public liability issues. "As trespassers the youths may not be covered by insurance if they injured themselves," he said.
"The bike tracks won't be dismantled before the New Year. But children shouldn't be using them because it may not be safe."
Ms West has welcomed Cr Barham's offer to consider a BMX track for the new sporting facility next to the Bangalow Bowling Club. "We would be extremely happy with that," she said.