Central Coast Australia

Central Coast News

Council locked in negative policy Cycle on bikes

Source: Central Coast MTB Trail Alliance
Posted: 16 Sep 2021
Over the last several months, lockdown has accelerated already rapidly growing participation rates in mountain biking and we have seen a rise in the building of informal infrastructure to meet that demand. Recently this has most commonly been seen in many cases of kids in various neighbourhoods creating jumps in public reserves, using initiative and working together to create their own entertainment at this difficult time.

In response, Central Coast Council have announced that they will increase monitoring and removal of trails and jumps without providing any suitable alternatives.

Do we not want our kids to play outside, challenge themselves and build relationships with others and the bush? Why is our council cracking down on this fundamental aspect of being a child? Why has council decided that it is time to expend money and manpower by sending out the excavators to flatten jumps and structures built by kids and local cyclists?

When they offer no alternatives, they simply ignore community need.

It is time for a paradigm shift from council regarding how it values kids and adults interacting in natural spaces.

Council destroying dirt jumps and trails has no positive outcomes, instead it:

  • Fosters negative relationship between young people and authority.
  • Removes people from the bush, limiting the possibility to educate about ecological and cultural significance.
  • Limits access to recreation and subsequent health and wellbeing of local residents. With COVID lockdown and no community sports allowed, riding has become an important factor in the general and mental health of people of all ages.
  • Ensures that new jumps & trails will be constructed in a new location.
  • Stokes community division.

Every time Council finds a trail or set of jumps, it has found unmet community demand. When you destroy this infrastructure you do not destroy the need for that infrastructure, the community does not go away. Rather, research shows that these sorts of measures only guarantee high costs and an increase in community friction – trust is dissolved with the riding community and opponents of mountain biking are emboldened, potentially leading to dangerous acts of trail sabotage intended to seriously injury and maim riders.

With regards to concerns about environmental impacts of trails and dirt jumps, peer-reviewed research and cases from around Australia and other parts of the world have shown that what determines the impact of a trail is its planning, construction and management, not the activity that takes place on it. As such mountain biking has been conclusively shown to have a comparable environmental footprint to that of bushwalking.

After 30 years of advocacy by local riders, Central Coast Council is yet to provide a single metre of mountain bike trails or dirt jump facilities. Council needs to listen to what the local community wants. It is no wonder that local residents and kids are quite simply providing their own facilities, certainly council has proven that they cannot be relied upon to do so. If council instead used those excavators to head out and construct some jumps for kids and riders then this whole cycle of build, then destroy, then build again will cease.

The Central Coast MTB Trail Alliance calls on Central Coast Council to extend its engagement and increase commitments to local riders and start making positive steps to provide the sustainable off-road cycling infrastructure that the community is calling for.

The Central Coast MTB Trail Alliance remains optimistic about working with Council, other land managers and stakeholders to break this negative policy cycle and move towards outcomes that benefit riders, the wider community and the environment.

If you want to access the bush, if you want your kids out playing, riding bikes and having a great time in the bush and see it done in a sustainable way then please email and let the Council know that as a member of the community you want to access what is your public space. The negative policy cycle needs to end

Monica's Personal Touch Monicas Personal Touch Monicas Personal Touch Monica's Personal Touch

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