Questions raised over Salt Ash soil dump for BMX track

ROW: Mayor Bruce MacKenzie with deputy Chris Doohan on the dirt mound to be used for the BMX track. Picture: Stephen Wark
ROW: Mayor Bruce MacKenzie with deputy Chris Doohan on the dirt mound to be used for the BMX track. Picture: Stephen Wark

A STINK is unravelling over the dumping of soil and rubble authorised by Port Mayor Bruce MacKenzie to build a BMX track adjacent to the Salt Ash pony club.

Most of the material, estimated at more than 2000 tonnes, came from Port Stephens Council's Peppertree Road site.

Lisa Gregory, president of the pony club, said her major concern was for the safety of both club members and bike riders.

"The problem is that the BMX track will be open all day every day without adult supervision," she said.

"This poses a serious safety and security concern; how can we stop the bike riders from coming into our enclosure?

"And when five different horse riding clubs have major concerns over safety and security issues, how can Mr MacKenzie, as chairperson of this committee, treat all other members the way he does?"

Mr MacKenzie said that all councillors had voted in August 2014 to allocate $10,000 of Section 94 funds for a BMX track at the Salt Ash sportsground complex, which is also known as The Bruce MacKenzie complex.

"For quite some time, I have been trying to provide the kids of this area with a bike track so I decided to take advantage of the Peppertree Road development to have the dirt moved," he said.

"The material has been tested and it's fine.

"We will be installing fencing to separate the horse area from the bike track."

Deputy mayor Chris Doohan described it as a fantastic solution and accused some critics of "trying to gain political mileage".

Cr Geoff Dingle meanwhile called on the council to have the material removed immediately until independent testing results were known.

"The material has been placed on the site without any DA and support from the 355C committee who do not want the conflict of a BMX track and horses," he said.

A council spokeswoman had told the Examiner on Tuesday that the council had engaged Cardno Geotech Solutions to undertake the independent soil analysis.

State MP Kate Washington has called on the council to follow due process.

"If the proper processes had been followed in regard to safety, design and material, we would not have this risk factor," she said.


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