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Warringah Council Meeting Update
On Tuesday (Jun 2) I attended a round table discussion organised by Warringah Council.
The council are preparing a long term recreational policy and invited people from a broad spectrum of the community to several meetings such as this. They will also be meeting with other government groups such as NPWS, although I'm not sure if we will have any visibility of what happens at those meetings.
I think we were very fortunate to be invited to this discussion and that overall it was productive and had some good outcomes.
On the cycling front Rob Parbery (president of Manly Warringah MTB Club) and three members of Manly Warringah BMX Club were also present. Other representatives from various community groups (representing various sports such as soccer and netball, youth groups, disabled people, etc) and two different groups representing the bush walking community were also there.
The meeting went something like this...
A presentation of survey results was given. The council commissioned a survey to find out what activities people were partaking in in their area, and what their future plans would be.
I don't recall the exact numbers (although I should get a copy of the results for interest - someone remind me!), but cycling was well placed in the top 5 activities. From memory swimming, walking and soccer were the top activities. Cycling growth is predicted to rise and walking shrink. It's worth noting that bush walking and mountain biking didn't appear to be split out from road riding and walking in general.
From here, the 25 or so people present split into 4 groups to discuss specific issues and prioritise them. Somewhat amazingly the results from each group were really rather similar. The top priorities for the future (in no particular order) seemed to be:
- Cost of participation/facilities use.
- Management and maintenance of facilities (tracks/trails in reserves and parks) and the environment.
- Accessibility of facilities by public transport, by cycling and on foot.
There was a lot more detail, but these overall messages were voiced and seemed to be heard by the council representatives.
As part of the group I was involved in I talked about Manly Dam and the good work done there, and the need for that model to be used on other land under council control. The Bush Walking representatives were also rather vocal in their views that MTB riders cause erosion and should be banned from many trails, etc, etc. One such person was even walking around with pictures of terrible trail damage - damage that was more likely a result of MX riders than MTB. I discussed this for a while and pointed this person to the IMBA Science on this. If nothing more comes from this meeting than they read and note that MTB riders are not always the enemy it will be time well spent.
All in all though, I think the meeting was useful and I sincerely hope the messages out of it are incorporated into the councils future plans. Not just from and MTB point of view, but overall - lots of generally good messages were sent.
From what I recall the draft plan will be out in December, patience is a virtue my friends!