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Manly Dam Community Workshop

Rob's picture

By Rob - Posted on 17 November 2010

Monday, 29 November, 2010 - 18:30

The meeting times are 'ready to ride'. If you need time to prepare equipment then please arrive a few minutes earlier.

2.5 hours
Come Rain or Shine: 
I'll be there, no matter what the weather.
Meeting Point: 

Forestville Youth Centre, Melwood Avenue, Forestville (behind Forestville RSL)

Show on Google maps: Meeting point. Login or register to get directions.

Just got this from Warringah Council. This sounds like a very important meeting for the future of Manly Dam so please attend if you can.

Dear Interested Stakeholder

Re: Manly Warringah War Memorial Park (Manly Dam) - Community Workshop

The Manly Warringah War Memorial Park is Crown Land managed by Warringah Council. It is a unique and much loved area of bushland in Sydney that is used by many different groups of people as well as providing a habitat for native flora and fauna.

As you might be aware, Council is in the process of reviewing the current Plan of Management for this area. A major step in this process is to develop an Issues and Directions Discussion Paper, which is then used as a basis for further community consultation. Council has now prepared this discussion paper and it will be available for public review and comment on Council’s website from Friday 19 November.

A key challenge emerging from this discussion paper is how Council can manage and resolve conflicts between different uses and activities in the Park, as well as protecting the Park’s key values and features.

As someone with an interest in Manly Warringah War Memorial Park, you are invited to register your interest in attending a workshop to help Council in resolving these conflicts. The workshop will be an opportunity for all stakeholders to understand the different perspectives and constraints involved; discuss potential trade-offs that may need to be made and then work together to solve the problems. The outcomes of the workshop will provide further input into the draft Plan of Management that Council intends to publicly exhibit in early 2011.

Council is inviting participation from a range of different stakeholder groups, including mountain bike riders, bushwalkers, water skiers, other water users, community or residents and environmental groups. In order to have a balance of views represented at the workshop, once registrations of interest have been received, Council will randomly select 15 participants from each stakeholder group.

We are trying to ensure that all views are represented at the workshop and have an equal chance to participate. The workshop will consist of around 15 tables on the night, representing all stakeholder views, working through a series of issues in relation to Manly Warringah War Memorial Park.

The workshop will be held on Monday 29 November 2010 from 6.30pm until 9.00pm at the Forestville Youth Centre, Melwood Avenue, Forestville (behind Forestville RSL). If you are free on that night please register your interest in attending the workshop by sending an email to, including your name, contact details and which of the above stakeholder groups you represent or your primary interest in Manly Warringah War Memorial Park.

Places are limited so please register your interest by Monday 22 November 2010 so Council can confirm the selected representatives by 24 November 2010.

I look forward to receiving your expressions of interest.

Who's in?
hawkeye, Rooster, danielschipper, Jezzae
hawkeye Rooster danielschipper Jezzae
What Happened?

Were you there and have a story to tell?

Ride Gallery
hawkeye's picture

I'm in. Smiling

danielschipper's picture

Yep got my confirmation today as well.

Rob's picture

Doh! It's unlikely I can make this now. Anyone else going aside from the 3 currently listed?

Jezzae's picture

I am new to the area and love having this trail so close. Don't know how much I can really contribute tonight, but I will be there to give my support.

Rob's picture

Hi... is there an update from anyone who went to this? Was it the usual bit of talk followed by write up your points on bits of butchers paper?

hawkeye's picture

This is from my perspective. Others attending may have a different point of view.

Some of the issues that came up that may affect future riding:
* A number of residents and "bushwalkers" were concerned about riding at night. The 'recent' development of high-powered low cost LEDs was noted. The residents were more concerned about noise and loss of amenity from bike noise and voices carrying from early morning and night rides than environmental concerns.
* Consequently there was much more support than expected (I'd call it significant support) from residents for re-routing trails further into the bush and away from houses. There were one or two calls for it to be banned on environmental grounds.

Some with council connections were pushing for separated bike and walker trails. Just as many if not more were saying they thought the liability issue was being majorly blown out of proportion. It was also heard several times that council's estimate of "high" cost of building new trails was greatly overstated.

Christina Kirsch and Virginia Laugesen floated the idea with me during the break of moving the mtb trail along Wakehurst Parkway down to the edge of the golf course, which I indicated wouldn't fly with bikers at all. I counter-proposed running a walkers trail there instead, if trail separation really was needed. The "why didn't I think of that" reaction made me chuckle.

I'd say support was split fairly evenly between all four options.

While I'm definitely not a fan of splitting the trails or keeping walkers out, options 3 and four may offer some advantages.
* Primary among them is being able to re-route the trail to deal with the long-term erosion problems that will continue to plague the circuit track if the route is not changed. Council's main concern with trail re-alignment is cost. Given the track record of World Trail and mountainbikers worldwide I think we should be able to address this quite easily.
* Moving the trail will deal with most of residents concerns about noise and disturbance from night riding.
* If World Trail or similar can be engaged, we may end up with an even better facility than we have now.

Action items for riders:
You may wish to write to Council to express support for:
* The Plan of Management consultation process
* Continued availability of night riding. Manly Dam reserve is Crown Land, not National Park, and a suitable location for practicing skills on singletrack for the burgeoning interest in 24hour events is vital.
* Re-routing trails away from houses through the Cootamundra Reserve and Southern Cross Way sections down to the Hydro Lab. These areas comprise disturbed and/or low conservation value bushland. This will improve resident amenity and allow for much improved sustainability.
* Getting the trail off public roads through areas such as Kalaui St, Bangaroo St, and Manning St opposite Balgowlah North Public School.
* Involvement of World Trail or someone with similar track record of excellence designing low cost sustainable bike trails, instead of an expensive consultant with little experience of mountain bikes.
* Retro-fitting of the trail (or construction of new replacement trail sections as required) to IMBA standards
* Rehabilitation of retired trail sections
* Use of volunteeer labour from the mountain bike community for trail construction, maintenance and rehabilitation to build community ownership and minimise cost to Council
* The importance of upgrading the track to cope with riding in all weather conditions (which IMBA standards compliance will facilitate)

Some of you (not all, please!) may wish to suggest that if separated trails are going to be insisted upon by Council, low-cost options exist in the form of creating a walking trail to the edge of the golf course, for which precedent already exists in the municipality (Cromer and one other named by Cllr Kirsch). For the section leading into 19th Hole on the northeastern side, the fire road/emergency vehicle access road is available for walkers.

In relation to the Water Ski club, I will be writing in favour of keeping their existing access hours but with a simpler easier to understand timetable. They do a significant amount of work maintaining picnic facilities in the park and managing public access to the water ski zone on behalf of Council, and repaying this work with a cut in hours would be spectacularly poor form.

Apologies for the novel - a lot of ground was covered on the night.

Jezzae's picture

Hi Guys,

I made it to the workshop the other night and it was interesting. Sorry for the delay in writting this. From what I heard the issue are:
1. The noise generated by riders they are congregating getting ready for the ride.

2. The noise generated from night riding and the disturbance to wildlife. The noise once again is directed against those congregated getting ready to ride. The disturbance to wildlife has not been researched at all, this is purely an assumption.

3. The risk of collisions on the shared single track areas between bikers and walkers. I asked the question if there has been any accidents and no one could answer me? So is this perhaps just perceived risk or is it something that we should be concerned about?

4. People do not want to see new trails in the bushland. Particularly not on the fringes of the bush as this creates a break in the bushland causing it to recede over time.

5. The cost of looking after more trails in the area cannot be supported with the current budget.

Solution to 1 - we could find out where the most common areas of complaint are and put up signs directing riders to designated meeting areas where they will have less of an impact with noise.

Solution to 2 – this could be fixed as above. With regards to the wildlife, this is not substantiated and further investigation is needed.

Solution to 3 - walkers have walking only tracks in the area, I think the 11km route should be made riding only. Or as offered make a separate single track for riders in those areas of risk. However by making additional trails this will cause conflict with those who oppose new trails in the dam. To avoid this conflict it must be communicated that while the initial work might cause a little damage, the actual area is smaller than used for walking trails and the areas can be revegetated as proven by many areas in the world. IMBA have been involved with many successful such projects.

Solution to 4 – once again I am sure IMBA has some answers to this and publications such as Trail Solutions: IMBA's Guide to Building Sweet Singletrack and Managing Mountain Biking: IMBA's Guide to Providing Sweet Riding.

Solution to 5 – I like what Whisper had to say in another thread on this: Professional input for sustainable trails - Manly Dam suffers from heavy rain with the current trail and fire-road drainage design. In the UK (for example), rain is a greater factor through the winter months, yet sustainable trails are created and maintained despite heavy mtb use. Those lessons can be applied here, and adapted for our local conditions. There are a number of local trail building advisers that can provide input.

A push for additional funding outside of the council. Manly Dam provides facilities for people outside of the local council area, as does Mt Stromlo in Canberra. With appropriate funding a good facility could be a great one! (then if could move beyond refinement)! And with regards to this additional funding I think it should be tapped into from the biking industry, local business and more people being part of clubs. For example in Whistler and Squamish, BC they have organisations such as WORCA and SORCA that have weekly races and weekly trail days. These are sponsored by local business, the biking industry and people being encouraged to pay their annual club fees. Looking into how things are done abroad particularly in the US and Canada would be very beneficial.

I agree with what Daniel said in another thread in getting a co-ordinated response from all. So please have a read of what I have written and give some feedback or continue with this. I haven’t been in Sydney long, but to have such an asset so close it would be a shame to see it get taken away from us.


Jezzae's picture

Hi Hawkeye,

I forgot to mention in my novel regarding what option I would like to see. I think for the biking 3 or 4 would be the better options long term, but you are right we do need to look at funding options and ways to communicate the new trails can be implemented with minimal damage (with IMBA principles used).

Re the ski club, yes they should stay, but I agree with a simpler timetable as they do not always use their allotted times.


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