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HSMBA Letter to Hornsby Council

jpack's picture

By jpack - Posted on 20 September 2009

Hey all,

i recently received an e-mail from HSMBA suggesting that we keep writing to Hornsby council to show our support for MTB trails. If you're on their mailing list you will get the e-mail at some point. They are staggering the e-mails so that Hornsby council doesn't just get one big influx of e-mails, but rather gets a steady stream of e-mails spread out over time. It's simple to do, if you're too lazy to think of something to write, i have attached below what i wrote, just copy/paste and change any relevant bits.


Dear Hornsby Councillors,

I am writing to express my strong support for mountain biking trails in Hornsby. I am a 25 year old male, living in South Turramurra, working as a professional mechanical engineer.

I am aware that investigations into the feasibility of mountain biking trails are underway. I hope these are going well.

As I’m sure you’re aware mountain biking is a great way for people of all ages to get fit, stay healthy and be active. I generally ride with 2 or 3 other people, who vary in age from 15 to 65, all of whom love the sport of mountain biking. The are other benefits besides a healthy community, mountain bikers from all over Sydney will visit Hornsby, and are likely to stop off after a ride for a bite to eat or a coffee, bringing financial benefit to businesses in Hornsby

Mountain biking trails have been highly successful in other areas, such as manly dam, where several hundred mountain bikers ride each week.

I hope this information is helpful to you and sincerely hope that Hornsby council makes the right choice in investing in mountain biking trails.

Thanks and Regards,

hawkeye's picture

Here's what I wrote:

Dear (Councillor's Name),

I was very pleased to receive feedback from my earlier submission on your Council's unstructured recreation plan regarding the demand for mountain bike facilities in Hornsby Shire. I am quite excited that it has become a priority.

It has been some time since that feedback, and I was wondering how the investigations are going.

My son and I are keen mountain bikers, and are looking forward to facilities becoming available in other parts of Sydney. This activity has enabled us to:
• get outdoors and get fit
• gain a much greater appreciation of our natural environment and the need to conserve it
• spend time together in an activity we both enjoy, strengthening our family relationships
• meet and socialise with others with a similar interest

Whenever we travel together we take our bikes, and usually spend more time in an area that has enjoyable trails to ride.

For this reason I'd like to suggest the old Hornsby Quarry area as highly suitable:
• Being close to town, it benefits bikers by being close to accommodation, shops, cafes and specialist bike shops.
• This in turn benefits the local community by facilitating a greater economic return on the investment from tourism.
• Having the mountain bike facility further from town would make these benefits more challenging to realise.
• Anecdotally, mountain biking seems to be undergoing an explosion in popularity, with most organised events this year being sold out within days.

We would like to see a cross-country singletrack circuit built, catering to a variety of abilities. This would mean having an "A" option for those with more advanced skills, and an easier (and longer) "B" line around the obstacle so those who are beginners can still complete the trail with a sense of accomplishment.

It is very important to us that the trail is built in a sustainable manner. This means routing the trail and constructing it in a manner to avoid drainage problems, and being able to sustain usage in most weather conditions. It is also important that the trail has "flow", as this reduces the temptation for users to widen trails. Environmental sustainability is a key concern of ours.

To this end it would be wise for Council to engage with HSMBA (of which I am not a member, by the way) and to engage World Trail in the facility's design and construction to ensure world's best practice is adopted. This will ensure both high quality outcomes and long term cost effectiveness for Council.

Thanks again,

Name and address supplied

jpack's picture

"Hi Justin,
Thank you for your email regarding mountain bike facilities in Hornsby Shire – and my apologies for my delay in reply.

As a Councillor, I am very much in favour of Hornsby Shire Council supporting mountain biking activities - in particular in the Hornsby Quarry / Old Man’s Valley space.

I believe that well-planned mountain-bike facilities are a sustainable use of Hornsby’s open space, whilst also reducing pressure on more sensitive bushland areas that some riders find themselves having to use because of the absence of mountain biking facilities.

Late last year, I voted to have Council Officer’s investigate the opportunities and costs for the provision of mountain bike facilities which is why you may have received a response that Council is currently investigating this issue. To assist you - and any other avid mountain-bike riders - agitate Council and Councillors for such a facility, I thought it might be useful to share some data with you on mountain biking in Hornsby Shire, and to let you know what I am working on in the Hornsby Quarry / Old Man’s Valley space.

The available data is getting a bit old in the tooth (its from 2001), but here is what I have been able to find when researching this issue as part of my activities to support mountain biking in Hornsby Shire:

1. Mountain Bike Riding is a popular activity relative to other activities Council has recently provided facilities for.

Participation rates in leisure/recreation activities in last 12 months (from 2001):

Activity Never 1-6 times 7-20 times >20 times

Horse riding 90.3% 7.0% 0.4% 2.2%
Mountain bike riding 85.7% 7.7% 3.4% 3.2%

I have included horse riding because in the previous Council term, Council invested over $6M in a purpose-built equestrian facility. The expenditure of $6M of funds on a facility where there are other activities (such as mountain biking) with higher amounts of unmet demand is one of the reasons I ran for Council as a new Councillor this current term: I want to see the most ‘bang for the buck’ when Council spends money on community facilities. As you can see, prior to the $6M equestrian facility, there was a higher participation rate for mountain bike riding – and at that time Hornsby Shire had existing horse-riding facilities that could meet a reasonably high proportion of demand.

2. Mountain Bike Riding is the second-highest activity residents would like to do, but do not (generally because of the absence of facilities).

Survey respondents were asked to indicate whether there are any leisure/recreation activities that they would like to do within Hornsby Shire but do not – the reasons were generally because of the absence of facilities:

“[The 2001] survey recorded the highest levels of unmet demand for swimming/aquatic activities (with 11% of respondents wishing to participate more) followed by cycling/mountain bike riding (6.4%), aerobics/gym (3.1%) and Jogging/walking for pleasure/walking the dog (3.1%).”

3. Mountain Bike Riding is congruent with Hornsby Shire’s’ ‘Bushland Values’

From Hornsby Council’s 2001 report: “Council's specific management aims for bushland (articulated in both the 'generic' and 'significant areas' bushland plans of management) include 'the promotion and provision of recreational opportunity in bushland’. Recreation opportunities and values include bush walking, climbing, mountain bike riding, orienteering, nature study and appreciation, picnicking and, where permitted, camping.” [my emphasis]

What I am doing as a Councillor

As you may know, I recently moved for Council to fill Hornsby Quarry in a way that works for the community, provide community access to Old Man’s Valley this term, and accelerate consultation on the facilities the community wants to see provided in Old Man’s Valley – this is why your comments on mountain bike facilities are so important. As mentioned, Council Officers are currently investigating the opportunities and costs for the provision of mountain bike facilities in the Shire and, as a Councillor, I look forward to receiving the report that Mr Stephens’ capable team will be producing in due course.

Please feel free to contact Anthony Newling, Council's Coordinator Bushland Management Operations, on 9847 6839 to keep up to date with progress and to ask questions/offer ideas.

Kind Regards,


Bruce Mills
Councillor for B Ward
Hornsby Shire Council"

snowkiwi's picture

That all sounds great. I'd happily send them an email to support it as well. My catch is that without knowing the Hornsby shire I've got no clue where that site is.

So, where is the Hornsby Quarry?

Noel's picture

It's that big round hole thing with water in it:

snowkiwi's picture

It is a great location.Thanks.

hawkeye's picture

I got the same reply. While it's obviously a form letter, it's clear he has put some thought into what he's doing and it's great to see our sport is getting such support.

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