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Kessel Run Camden closed?

Pete B's picture

By Pete B - Posted on 08 September 2014

Just seen a link to this on FB. Gutted as it's one of the best flowing trails in Sydney. Sad

hawkeye's picture

Can understand perfectly why the landowner is closing access, having to fight a liability case of any kind is not something I'd want to be exposed to, even knowing that a successful defence is almost certain.

With the local councils involvement in this closure, we need to be challenging them on what they are going to do to provide alternative facilities for an obviously popular and healthy pastime with such massive pent.up community demand.

Hasbeen Racing's picture

I can't understand it at all. That trail has been there for 25 years and a new land owner decides they wish to close it off? Sounds exactly like people moving into an area and then campaigning against an annoyance they should have known about when they bought.

I'm no lawyer but I would have thought a right-of-way would exist after a certain period of use.

Slowpup's picture

it's not an ancient footpath, or whatever they call them in the UK.

I'm no lawyer either, but from recent experience, this is my understanding in NSW....

A landowner can close access ways, even a made road, that crosses their property unless there is an easement, right of carriageway, crown road reservation, etc legitimising the access and preluding them from doing this. In many cases even if an easement or right of carriage way is in place, those rights only benefit parties or properties named and in whom the benefit has been vested.

If for instance you had a property which was "land locked" by other properties between your boundary and a made public road (crown, council, etc.) and the only accessway was across someone elses land, for which you relied on an "act of good faith", and that person decided to say.... farm snozzcumbers on what was the roadway, they could "legally" close the roadway. You'd then need to apply to the supreme (or maybe high) court for a legal accessway to be instated, for which you'd need to recompense the landowner. If it was a crown reservation (which the land holder doesn't actually own and wouldn't be considered as part of their lot area) and they closed it, then they'd either need to purchase the right to inclose the land from the crown, but the crown would need to consider your right to the land as part of the decision making process, if you made a noise!

As I said, I'm no lawyer but, my understanding is that the owner really has no compulsion to allow access to his land and, while disappointing, really shouldn't be left open to accepting liability because public individuals gained access to his private land for personal recreation without offsetting his financial risk or paying for risk minimisation strategies to be implemented.

rossco_'s picture

Saw the topic while wishing appin reopen... Not a good news!

Hasbeen Racing's picture

@Slowpup that all sounds pretty fair re the access.

It doesn't sound fair re the liability. I suspect this is a smokescreen. As I said, the track has been there for 25 years and none of the previous owners have had liability issues. I'd love to hear the full story and the advice the owner has received. I also think council's role in this needs to be carefully scrutinised.

Slowpup's picture

that it's more the risk of having to invest serious coin just to respond to any and every possible claim, whether liability is truly in question that has lead to the loss of access.

Hypothetical scenario:

Little Johnny is riding his bike along Mr Kessel's magnanimously provided and unmaintained access trail. It's a beautiful spot, trees overhang the track, wombats burrow by the side of the river and once, a long long time ago, somebody who used to own the property ran a bulldozer along the river edge to cut in a flattish footpath.

Little Johnny is looking at the beautiful view and doesn't notice that last night's rain and the workings of Mr Wombat have caused the trail to wash away. Mr Kessel doesn't know either, and as he doesn't use the trail he didn't think to put up a big yellow sign saying "danger".

Johny goes arse over tit, smacks his head on a rock and loses alittle bit of blood, the memory of his first kiss and last night's pizza.

He trots off to hospital where he's admitted and spends a night on the good sauce.

Mr Slick the ambulance chaser just happens to see Johhny an the hospital and asks, "what happened to you?". Johhny tells him all about riding along the trail on the 2.5 million dollar property, and the woes of losing that precious memory. Mt Slick says, "you know, I could write you a letter, no cost of course, and you might just get a new MTB out of it. I'll only take 70% of the money you haven't yet claimed, so for no effort youre 30% better off with a chance."

Johnny ponders, "why the hell not. Old Kessel's a squillionaire, like I mean he drives a 2 year old car and I'm forced to eat pizza and ride a Specialized."

Slick slips an unsigned and dated sheet of closely typed paper out of his hold all. "just write the date here, the address of the property there and sign it here.... all done. Look I'll just slip down to the post box and call you in a few days. Get well slowly Johhny ;-)"

Johnny goes home and resumes his tedious life of pizza and bikes.

Meanwhile.... Mr Kessel is sitting down to breakfast pondering the folly of buying his dream home at the peak of the market, just as his super tanks when he spies a nice, crisp white envelope that his wife signed for. Little does he know that opening that flap will cost him in 6 minute chunks just to respond.

I'm not saying I think it's the best outcome for the trail but, a couple of small signs, some star posts and wire seems like a pretty good investment right about now, don't you agree?

We just seem to live in an age where anyone who shares ends up being forced into 'sharing' more than they ever intended.....and that leads to people stopping sharing altogether. Add to this that last week I heard that Australians are now the proud title holders of "Most litigious society on Earth!"

Yeehaa! Two fingers to you California!!!!

Andy Bloot's picture

Slowpup, very plausible summation of the ludicrous times we live in

philberesford's picture

You had me at pizza

commandokamikaze's picture

Is Kessels and Camden river run both the same spot? I never got a chance to ride there but always heard good things about it.

Rob's picture

I'm curious... has any landowner in Australia ever been successfully sued for damages by a cyclist who had an accident on their property?

StanTheMan's picture

LOL slowup. you are a classic. are also, so dead right.

Hasbeen Racing's picture

@Rob I suspect not. Which is why I think this is a smokescreen.

crank's picture

The Civil Liability Act would protect them provided they have taken appropriate precautions.

They would still have to go through the process and pay to defend themselves though.

hawkeye's picture

is why the track is closed. As the land owner, even if you win, you lose.

Flynny's picture

The perception of legal exposure seems much much worse than the reality.

Rob's picture

I'm curious... has any landowner in Australia ever been successfully sued for damages by a cyclist who had an accident on their property?

pancakes's picture

Slowpup, expect a crisp white envelope from my trained attack ambulance chaser. I was traumatised to hear you "accosted" my wife in a shopping centre the other day and as such will be seeking damages. By all accounts it was a "lovely conversation" or some such rubbish. Like I mean as you used to zip around in that 7 and I am forced to eat pancakes and ride a single speed, I can see no other course of action.

As part of the victim's statement I will be asking the courts impose a mandatory period of Specialized ownership on you.

Slowpup's picture

Oh syrup laden carbohydrate treat....

I promise to be a well behaved Pup if you retract the threat of enforced Specialized ownership!

Black Flash's picture

Still lol.

pancakes's picture

It's a shocking prospect and should be used more by the courts.

Though, it'll probably transpire that it infringes your human rights or some such malarkey and you'll get a legal team provided courtesy of Amnesty International.

Flynny's picture

Rob, I am unaware of any land manager successfully being sued from a riding accident (though I have a vaue memory of an attempt, but I may be thinking of something overseas)

hawkeye's picture

There was an attempt. The claimant reckoned the trail was inadequately signed and he was hurt because he didn't know the trail was double black, or some such.

The defendant (Victorian NPWS from hazy memory) successfully defended on the basis that he entered the trail from an unauthorized entry point and it wasn't therefore their fault he missed the trail rating signage.

Rob's picture

Do you have a reference for this failed attempt, Hawkeye?

philberesford's picture

I once broke my foot by coming off one of the broken bridges there and had to be carried out. Did I sue? Did I fck. It was my choice to ride it, my fault entirely.

On a separate note, does this closure also affe the dirt jumps area?

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