You are hereForums / By Discipline / Mountain (off road) / By Location / Australia / NSW / Northern Beaches / Northern Beaches Trail Advocacy / Public exhibition of the draft Sydney Water Catchment Management Regulation 2008

Public exhibition of the draft Sydney Water Catchment Management Regulation 2008

Rob's picture

By Rob - Posted on 26 May 2008

Update: The submission I just sent in has been posted here. Hopefully it's generic enough that anyone could use it. Please, if you can spare 2 minutes copy paste that and email it off.

Update: I was just asked about the area we're talking about here. There's a PDF map linked on the Special Areas Brochure - What you can and can't do page.

Update: If you haven't submitted anything yet, then do not fear. According to MTBA: Trail Access a one week extension (to June 6) has been negotiated.

The SCA control a lot of land with great trails we are no allowed on right now. If you can write and put forward the view that cycling should be authorised on land under their management it would be greatly appreciated by the MTB community I'm sure.

Public consultation draft of the Sydney Water Catchment Management Regulation 2008 (493.8 kb PDF File)

I got this only today from Martin G, he said:

The new draft, which is way harsher than the already harsh one in force now has a download at the bottom. Also their Regulatory Impact Statement.

The deadline for responses is this Friday, so if NoBMoB people want to get a response in they'll need to be prompt. A few words asking nicely will help, better to paste stuff from the executive summary. The Minister for Water and the Minister for the Environment should be cc'd too.

The 'executive summary' he mentions is from a draft submission he sent, you can read that below.

While we agree with the recommended choice of option (3) offered in the Regulatory Impact Statement and recognise the need for regulation of catchment: the proposed changes ignore the substantial social impact to communities living in and around the catchment and in so doing makes no genuine contribution to water quality. We have a big issue with the content of the General Regulation itself, rather than the need for it.

The SCA has failed to adequately establish the social impact of exclusion, largely ignores benefits of managed access and has not shown with any rigour that self reliant low impact recreational activities have an actual and measurable effect on water quality. In short the precautionary principle has been carried to a ludicrous extreme, and thanks to commercialisation of water places profit as an extreme imperative to the detriment of the community.

In particular the proposed new regulation dramatically worsens the regulation, rather than improving on the already unreasonable and absurd restrictions on self-reliant low impact recreational activity in catchment special areas. Largely because exclusion and big fines are cheap and expedient for the SCA.

The regulation severely limits bushwalking, running and touring cycling in over two thousand square kilometres of land which are mostly National Park and Wilderness. Both the National Parks and Wildlife Act and the Wilderness Act require recreational access in the lands they govern.

The restrictions are absurd since the impact of walking, running and cycling is claimed to impact water quality on account of erosion and sedimentation- yet these tracks are driven on by four wheel drives and trucks and are routinely bulldozed and graded with little or nothing done to prevent sedimentatation. We contend that by comparison with management activity the impact of self reliant recreational use is negligible. Especially since much of the land is remote and visitation rates are fairly low.

We seek to improve the regulation by:

* Adding to the existing corridors in Schedule 1 lands so that classic routes which have short segments within the prohibited area (out of of a very long total distance) may be used legally. Examples are Blackheath to Mittagong via Yerranderie and Fowler's Flat, also Blackheath to Wentworth Falls via Hayes Crossing and Kedumba Farm.
* Permitting touring cycling on maintained management vehicle tracks within Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 lands which are open to running and walking
* Removing the offence for disobeying signage since the Sydney Catchment Authority erects signs outside of the gazetted Special Area boundaries and sometimes places signs in the wrong location
* Removing the power to confiscate bicycles since this would be excessive. People need to carry or push their bicycles on tracks that may not be ridden: bikes are used to get to bushwalks and the route may not necessarily finish at the start point
* Reducing fines to reasonable and proportionate figures- consistent with motor vehicle parking offences
* Allowing DECC equal authority with the SCA in jointly managed lands, and arguably more authority away from major water infrastructure such as Warragamba Dam itself. This would help make user management practices more consistent within the National Parks.
* Removing restrictions on walking, running and cycling in the Woodford Special Area since the catchment has been disused for many years. The pumping system failed and has not been replaced.

Little-Ditty's picture

Thanks, I have fired one off to SCA. Email away!!

Carlgroover's picture

I've just sent them one also and I'm including their email address here to encourage you.

dez_b's picture

thanks for the draft sent my 00.2c worth
p.s. very jealous reading about all the rides everyone is doing, start physio today so hopefully back in the saddle in 2-3 weeks first thing is to go shopping for ahmm! an xc bike shh!! dont tell anyone especially Alex he will give me sh#t
anyone selling a light duely relatively cheap ????

Paul's picture

I took Rob's draft and re-worked it and added my own views, comments, etc.

It's easy to do and doesn't take long - everyone should do it.

Caro's picture

Thanks Rob!
Hope it helps...

Rob's picture

Bump! Sticking out tongue

antonfourie's picture

Sent mine off hope that it works out

Mick's picture

Rob, why don't you start a shame file identifying those who haven't pushed the cause....

Brian's picture

In that case, I have sent the email but didn't post a comment saying so Smiling

Rob's picture


Although Huw's mail said MTBA have negotiated a one week extension, the official date for submission is today.

Go on... it's Friday!

Taxman's picture

First post after being here a year.....

Email sent to SCA. Thanks for the heads up.

goatman's picture

Thanks Rob for organising this!

Flynny's picture

sent mine too.

But the biggest thanks need to go to Huw kingston, Anthony Seiver and Martin Geliot

These guys put in a lot of time lobbying for the review to take place and drew up the initial draft response.

Big Cheers to them and thank to Rob for so effectively spreading the word

jedijunglesnow's picture

Thanks to everyone behind this too.

tienster's picture

Thanks for the generic letter Rob.


Alex's picture

mine off 2

Rob's picture

I spoke to someone at SCA today and they are hopeful that the new plan will be out before the beginning of September. In fact, they said it had to be because that was when the current plan expired!

Apparently changes have been made and the plan is in front of the Minster for Water as I write.

We campaigned hard on this one and I'm hopeful we'll get some change. Stay tuned! Smiling

Brian's picture

I just had an email saying they are going to review mountain bike access. Here is a link to their site.

Flynny's picture

mine said while they will not exclude the term "bicycle" from their definition of vehicle (as it is in line with definitions in the road and traffic act)

they have been requested to review access to recreational mountain biking. It comes with the condition of "Not impeding on water quality"

Considering other trails in other states running along the shores of catchment dams this restriction should be able to be over come

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Best Mountain Bike