The Committee considered the following report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues
1.1 This report is to seek approval to work in partnership with Cycling Ulster on a project to develop the existing BMX track in Ormeau Park.
The Members of the Committee are asked to recommend that, in accordance with the Council decision of 4th May 2021, the Chief Executive exercise her delegated authority to:
· Grant approval for officers to work in partnership with Cycling Ulster officials to submit an application to the Whitemountain Programme main grants fund to redevelop the Ormeau Park BMX track.
3.0 Main report
3.1 Council maintains a recreational BMX track in Ormeau Park which has low levels of use and is not used for club activity. Belfast BMX clubs are required to travel to the Lisburn track and beyond for training sessions, fitting in around the requirements of the local club. Despite this, members of the city’s most successful club, Belfast City BMX club, regularly compete and succeed at the highest levels of the sport locally and nationally, with many of their members achieving international selection for European and World championships.
3.2 Cycling Ulster have previously approached officers seeking to work in partnership to identify sites for development of new facilities for the many branches within the sport of cycling, including track, mountain bike, cyclo-cross and BMX. Options for possible sites continue to be explored. Recently the chair of Cycling Ulster’s BMX commission and the Cycling Ulster Development Officer met with Council officers to explore the option of redeveloping the existing Ormeau Park BMX track to a high enough standard for club training. At this meeting they agreed that they wish to work with Council officers to draw down funding from external sources and offered a direct contribution from Cycling Ulster. The Whitemountain Programme main grant offers up to £50,000 with application deadlines of 23rd July and 29th October. An application was submitted prior to the July deadline. To support this application the Council provided a letter offering an ‘in principle’ commitment for the Council to work in partnership with the group in respect of this project to enhance a Council asset. This commitment was subject to P&C consideration in August.
3.3 Cycling Ulster have sought estimated costs from established specialist contractors which indicate that an amount of £75,000 should be budgeted to complete the project. The project will involve some work to the redesign the existing track to improve its rideability for a range of ability levels. The redesigned track will enable BMX clubs to programme and offer training and coaching sessions to its members, will permit them to offer bookable come and try it sessions for newcomers and will increase enjoyable use of the track for recreational and beginner riders.
3.4 Monitoring and Performance. Council officers will carry out random user counts at the site in advance of the project and data captured from bookings and user counts after development will quantify the extent of enhanced use following improved track design and programmed activity.
Financial and Resource Implications
3.5 A total of £75,000 is estimated to deliver this project. Cycling Ulster anticipate that an amount of £50,000 will be available from Whitemountain Programme main grant and in the region £5,000 from Cycling Ulster budget. Cycling Ulster seeks to identify other potential funders and may seek some financial support via the Council, subject to availability of funding and normal consideration.
Equality or Good Relations Implications/
Rural Needs Assessment
3.6 None associated with this report.”
In accordance with the Council decision of 4th May, the Members agreed that the Chief Executive exercise her delegated authority to grant approval for officers to work in partnership with Cycling Ulster officials to submit an application to the Whitemountain Programme main grants fund to redevelop the Ormeau Park BMX track