Media releases

The discovery of an illegally constructed mountain biking trail in Barrett Street Reserve has led to a stern warning that the Shire of Augusta Margaret River will seek to prosecute any environmental vandals that are identified.

The warning was issued by Shire Chief Executive Officer Gary Evershed who said the rogue trail builders were causing environmental and liability issues, with ratepayers left to foot the clean up and removal bills.

Mr Evershed said the Shire was working in collaboration with the Friends of Barrett Street Reserve (FoBSR) and Margaret River Off Road Cycling Association (MRORCA) to try and address the matter.

“The Shire and these community groups are all similarly frustrated by this reckless and ad hoc destruction of public land that we all work so tirelessly to protect, maintain and rehabilitate where required,” he said.

“We all work very hard to discuss, negotiate and manage the reserves so that all community members can safely interact while enjoying their various activities.

“It is entirely unhelpful and short-sighted for these few individuals to build trails in inappropriate locations, with no regard given to other user groups, or the environment.”

Shire President Pam Townshend said Council were big supporters of mountain biking but the growth of the sport needed to done in a way that was considerate and sustainable.

“Council has been a long-time supporter of mountain biking as demonstrated by our funding commitments to the Cape to Cape Mountain Biking event, the State Mountain Biking series, the local club events, trail building and the new 12-hour mountain biking event slated for 2018,” she said.

“It’s a fantastic intergeneration sports that promotes social engagement, health and wellbeing.

“There does, however, need to be a balance between the provision of suitable mountain biking infrastructure, and the protection of our precious, natural environment.

“Unfortunately the clearing of this trail has damaged native bushland in the reserve area.

“Unauthorised trails also create the potential for serious collisions between riders and walkers.

“We have luckily avoided any injuries so far, however, these trails pose a risk to both mountain bike users and walkers alike.”

FoBSR member Maureen Munro said Shire Reserves are a dwindling resource as the population grows, and local bushland needs to be carefully protected and managed.

“Reserves provide habitat for animals and plants, and quiet relaxing spaces for us to enjoy,” she said. 

“The building of illegal trails has a devastating impact on the bush with long term consequences like soil compaction, erosion, weed invasion and safety issues for other users.”

MRORCA President Dean Davies said the association is willing to work together to achieve the best outcome for all concerned.

“The club, in partnership with the Shire supports legal and formal trail building only,” he said.

“I urge mountain bikers to use the existing mountain bike trails in Compartment 10 that are open and available for use.”

Additional formalised trails are planned near Wharncliffe Mill, and a Trail Strategy will be drafted by the Shire in close consultation with the community.

Should members of the public find an illegal trail they are encourage to report it to the Shire on 9780 5255.

All illegal trails will be removed at the earliest opportunity.

 

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Margaret River WA 6285

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