Mountainbikers pleased to call forest home

BLACKBUTT resident Robyn Bevitt is delighted Shellharbour City Council and Wollongong Mountain Bike Club have reached an agreement on the club using Blackbutt Forest for its new home.

The club's former home base at Appin was closed after concerns were raised by the Aboriginal Land Council.

The Wollongong Club has been looking at sites for a new home, including an area at Cringila, but an offer from the council to use Blackbutt was seen as more in tune with the biking club's needs.

"This is awesome news not only for the Wollongong Club, but all local bike enthusiasts," Bevitt said.

"As far as I am concerned, it is very welcome."

Both Shellharbour deputy mayor Paul Rankin and Wollongong Mountain Biking's Scott Carson were delighted with the outcome.

"Shellharbour council has been very supportive and we are delighted with Blackbutt Reserve as a home base," Carson said.

"It really does have a great staging area for us to run events from power, toilets, parking and event barbecue areas - it's absolutely ideal.

"It has some challenging tracks and some easy tracks and we have done the mapping and have worked out a six-kilometre course, with the added bonus of spectators being able to see riders in action four or five times during races instead of just the start and the finish.

"While this area is just for short-course riding with no area for downhill events, it is still ideal for club events."

Cr Rankin said the agreement was a win-win for all involved.

"We are more than happy to encourage the Wollongong Mountain Bike Club to make Blackbutt Reserve their new home as it not only means they can have meetings here, but it also brings extra people in to the municipality," he said.

"We arranged meetings with the relevant council managers and they were all more than happy to sign off on the deal.

"All the club will have to do when they have an open day is write to council, while if they want to hold a major event they would have to lodge a development application."

The club has been made aware of sensitive grassland areas and the bat colony.

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