The Angry Bull Mountain Bike Trails project will get its $30,000 from Tenterfield Shire Council towards trail design.
Despite the pressure the decision places on the council budget and the lack of any mention of mountain bikes in the current operational plan, councillors at Wednesday's meeting opted to make what some said was a relatively small investment into a project that promised great gains for the community both socially and financially.
Cr Bronwyn Petrie is confident that this council expenditure will be more than compensated by a thriving community with more people paying rates and other council contributions, resulting in a positive effect on the council budget.
"This is an immense opportunity for the area to future-proof itself.
"$30,000 is a small investment, and it will grow satellite areas throughout the shire."
The decision was not without its dissenters. Cr Brian Murray feels this is a fantastic opportunity for Tenterfield and he's in favour of it as a concept, but is also in favour of having a closer look at the books and having a reporting mechanism to ensure protection of community funds. Cr Sauer pointed out that councillors already had documented evidence covering more aspects than required.
Cr Tom Peters was concerned it set a precedent and there would be more pleas for funding.
Cr Bob Rogan said the Angry Bull team had done a lot of work and he was against starting to 'stick our nose into their business'.
"We've got to show our support and let them get on with it."
He said there are time constraints on getting the design done so that the project has something attractive to include with funding applications, and he's against the project stalling.
Track designs would improve Angry Bull's application to the Building Better Regions Fund (Round 5) in the new year.
The project team's Joe Smith had addressed the meeting earlier via Zoom in the community consultation section, informing councillors of the overwhelmingly-positive response to the community workshops held on November 16. A detailed Business Case, prepared by Regional Development Australia with the support of an earlier $25,000 grant from council, was introduced at these workshops.
BackTrack Works' Marcus Watson has confirmed he is working closely with Angry Bull and council to source funding for a Tenterfield-based youth engagement and training initiative, closely aligned with the bike trail project to provide ongoing employment.
The next stage for Angry Bull is trail mapping, design and planing, and the development of a marketing and communication strategy, before raising the $7.5 million for construction.
Mr Smith was naturally pleased that the council funding had been granted, even though it's only part-way to the $60,000 immediately required.
"We're super grateful that council is coming to the party," he said.
"We'll certainly be maintaining our enthusiasm and drive to progress this project."