THE dispute between Warrnambool City Council and the Warrnambool BMX Club is unresolved, with the club accusing the council of “bullying” for turning off the power to its track last week.
The council has denied the allegation, saying it turned off the power because it was concerned that underground wiring had been placed at the club’s track and the council did not know where it had been laid.
The council’s chief executive officer Bruce Anson said the safety of the public and council staff was at risk without knowledge of the wiring’s location.
Mr Anson said there was no connection between the council’s action last week and its difficulty in getting the club to pay more towards the cost of establishing the club’s new BMX track at Jetty Flat.
BMX club president Luke Pretlove said the council’s disconnection of power to the track had eliminated any goodwill in the discussions over the club’s contribution to the cost of the new BMX track.
The power to the BMX track was disconnected for only a matter of hours last Thursday because the club got it reconnected after receiving advice from a power retailer the council was not authorised to disconnect it.
Mr Pretlove said the club had yet to make any commitment to the council’s request to meet the cost overrun for the new track.
Mr Pretlove said the club had so far made a $5000 cash contribution and a $26,000 in-kind contribution to the project’s costs.
The council had originally wanted $60,000, then reduced it to $47,000 and presently wanted $25,000, Mr Pretlove said.
Mr Anson said the council had tried without success since July to meet with the club to discuss the contribution it would make to the cost of the new track.
He said the council had contributed $140,000 to the new track’s establishment, the state government $60,000 and philanthropic trusts $25,000. The club had paid $5000 it had promised but had yet to contribute the $25,000 from the philanthropic trusts.
The track opened in March but council was still waiting for the money from the club, Mr Anson said.
A report to the council’s February meeting estimated the cost overrun for the new BMX track was more than $37,000.
The council’s general approach for such overruns was that the club involved was responsible for funding them, the report said.
Among factors that led to the overruns were the club’s decision to upgrade the track’s starting hill and import a custom-designed starting gate.