The Community Environment Network (CEN) is urging residents to put biodiversity before bikes by making a submission against Central Coast Council’s plans for a full-blown Mountain Bike Strategy.
CEN spokesperson Jackie Pearson said a discussion paper on the issue, which is on public exhibition until March 22, is flawed.
Pearson said Council is considering a strategy to build and manage mountain bike tracks and parks in Council-owned reserves, including in the Coastal Open Space System (COSS).
“The Community Environment Network supports mountain biking but we are concerned about its suitability in the Coastal Open Space System (COSS),” Pearson said.
“We are urging our members, supporters and the broader community to oppose any plans to build new trails in COSS or approve existing illegal trails.
“The discussion paper acknowledges that the construction of unauthorised mountain bike trails poses environmental, heritage and reputational risk to Council as well as significant community concern for the protection of COSS described as ‘highly valued by the community’.
But Pearson said the discussion paper’s section on environmental impacts is inadequate.
“(It) has no information about Endangered Ecological Communities and Regionally Significant species found in Council reserves,” she said.
“It fails to inform the community about the fragility of the fauna and flora in COSS.
“The discussion paper does not consider the environmental value of the reserves that could become regional mountain bike parks.
“It understates the damage already caused by illegal trail building and use (and) fails to mention the illegal tree removal, damage to hanging swamps and rainforest, interference with creeks and damage to sandstone platforms that has already occurred.
“Turning Kincumba, Rumbalara, Katandra or Ferntree reserves into a regional mountain bike facility has the potential to completely undermine their biodiversity value.”
Pearson said the extensive network of illegal trails through COSS has already resulted in significant environmental damage.
“Council’s draft trails approval process implies mountain bike groups will be able to propose sites for new trails in an open-ended fashion, posing the risk of environmental degradation across swathes of bushland,” she said.
“If residents think sensitive COSS lands need to be kept for passive recreation and conservation and other, more appropriate, locations found for mountain bike riding, we urge them to have a say before March 22 at yourvoiceourcoast.com.au.”
Media release, Mar 3
Community Environment Network