St George Cycling Club wins battle with local council
Last month, Cyclingnews brought you the story of Hurstville Velodrome in Sydney which was facing demolition due to local council plans to reinvigorate the grounds surrounding the concrete track.
Today, we can announce that Hurstville Velodrome has been saved thanks to a decision by council caucus which will be confirmed at a Council meeting on May 25. The plea to save the velodrome had tremendous community support, with close to 1700 people signing a petition to keep the track.
Phill Bates President of St George Cycling Club, which has its home at the velodrome, was furious at the move which would have destroyed over a century of Australian cycling history.
"Council may have had a good reason to remove the track if St George Cycling Club were not using the velodrome but we have remained the most consistent users of this historic oval along with the many members of the public that cycle for health and recreational benefits. We were never going to walk away from our track."
Mayor of Hurstville, Cr Philip Sansom, discussed the issue with a number of his fellow Councillors in an effort to secure their cooperation and said that the velodrome was, "a cornerstone of Hurstville’s sporting identity and should remain so well into the future."
The cycling club, keen for heritage listing of the oval, has also been delighted with advice this week that the velodrome has been given a high standing on the National Trust register - a major stepping stone to heritage listing.
Big money has been spent in terms of the track's maintenance with some funding coming from sponsors and training fees. Most recently, the track has been completely repainted and the photo above shows it in its current state.
Maintenance over the past three years has been an expensive exercise, with around 1.3 kilometres of cracks filled as well as repairs to drains owned by the council.
"We have spent thousands of dollars on materials and the costs would have been astronomical without the efforts of our members," said Bates. "The paint alone has cost more than $10,000 and hundreds of hours of volunteer work.
The track still requires a bitumen sheeting to ensure a smoother surface for the cyclists.
The cycle club is hopeful that Council will restore its signage on the front of Hurstville Oval and that Council and the State Government will consider upgrading the track surface and the change rooms.
"This was a wonderful commitment from the club, the many members past and present that rallied and worked to save the velodrome, the community that supported the history, the New South Wales Government for being so reactive, several councillors for their assistance and the media that were extremely supportive and assisted in attracting widespread support," said Bates.