The area which Challenge Park now occupies was previously well known as the Kelmscott BMX track, which from 1980 was the home of the Kelmscott Bicycle Motocross Club. It brought great joy to a generation of local kids.
That first track was created incredibly quickly: it was in June 1980 that the Club first wrote to the Town Council asking for help to build the track, and only 3 months later the Club had over 200 children racing regularly here at John Dunn. It was a remarkable feat achieved by the fledgling BMX community working together with then-Town-Engineer Ken Brown.
By September 1982, just two years later, the Kelmscott BMX Club was reportedly the “biggest BMX Club in Western Australia,” and had already upgraded the track layout and added an announcers tower, plus a first aid room and storage building.
Many years of fun racing and fierce competition were had here during the 1980s and 1990s. By 2008 most of the club buildings were gone but the track remained, with the last traces of tarmac removed in 2014, clearing the way for this new facility.
A Master Plan for John Dunn Reserve was endorsed in 2013 which included the development of a regional level BMX facility at the site. The master plan process identified an opportunity to revive a former BMX facility on the site as a regional track given the rising popularity of BMX sports. It was noted that further analysis was required to determine the nature of the need, functionality and design of such a facility. In 2016 Council endorsed and prioritised further feasibility studies into the John Dunn BMX facility.
In 2018 Common Ground Trails were engaged to undertake this work. Following comprehensive community and stakeholder engagement the most significant element of the feasibility study is that it identified stronger demand for a broader range of cycle related activities rather than a dedicated, competition based BMX facility. There was strong community support throughout the planning phase with 483 people participating in various workshops, open house, and surveys.
While the project was originally considered in the last year of the City’s long term financial plan; due to support, demand and needs identified the project was brought forward.
The City utilised specialist experienced consultants Common Ground Trails in the development of the feasibility and concept design while Three Chillies completed the final designs as part of the construction team.
The John Dunn Challenge Park is a $1.6 million dollar project; supported by the Dept of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries with a $270, 000 grant, with the balance from City funds.