CEN asks residents to put biodiversity before bikes

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

2 Comments on "CEN asks residents to put biodiversity before bikes"

  1. Chris a walker and MTBer | March 8, 2021 at 11:59 am |

    So they support it or they urge members to oppose it? I’m confused. How about you urge your members to consider it for themselves and talk to some mountain bikers instead. The environment is important, mountain bikers are a group that on large enjoy the environment and treat it with respect. We should encourage use of the outdoors and allow where appropriate for fun and engaging trails to be created, managed and enjoyed by all. Most importantly, enough with the tribalism on both sides! If you’re just arbitrarily opposing things or other peoples viewpoints (this is aimed at both sides) you are just part of the problem and the rest of us would benefit from you disengaging yourself from the process.

  2. Susie M: bushwalker, mountain bicyclist, visual artist | March 11, 2021 at 9:10 am |

    CEN, since I became aware of them via their FB page, is a highly divisive, narrow-minded group. Publishing an article like this is buying into their political narrative and outrageous claims regarding mountain bicycling. Use of the word ‘bike’ is misleading your non-cycling readers into thinking that this is about fossil-fueled motorbikes. It is not. It is about bicycles and the bicycle is the most environmentally friendly, human-powered conveyance in the world- consequently mountain bicycling is now the largest land-based outdoor recreation in the world. I fail to see how any group which is genuinely concerned about the local natural environments, climate change and the like- could so vehmently oppose anything to do with a bicycle. The image you have published is the property of CCMTB and it is completely out of context to this debate, nor is it representative of 95% those who ride mountain bicycles. Only 2% of all mountain bicyclists can ride like that, or even want to ride like that! All local riders are asking for is to be able to use their motor cars less, so that they can ride more and easily access public, difficulty graded trails to appreciate and link the vast tracts of scenic natural bush with their friends and families on their bicycles-from home. Did anyone from CEN leave their car at home today and cycle instead ?

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