You are hereForums / By Discipline / Mountain (off road) / By Location / Australia / NSW / NSW Trail Advocacy / OMV Closure & Northconnex - an Update

OMV Closure & Northconnex - an Update

Tristania's picture

By Tristania - Posted on 08 February 2016

As many of you know, the hugely popular track at Hornsby will need to be closed off shortly as the Northconnex project requires passage for vehicles to the Quarry. Understandably, there has been a great outcry about this with pleas to save the track.

After this liaison, here is the latest update, emailed to SNORC members:

Hi xxx,

So what new trails are in store for Hornsby Shire for 2016?

In the face of trail closures in Sydney by many land managers throughout 2015, it's exciting to see that Hornsby Council (HSC) is continuing their commitment to mountain biking. HSC has seen our community change for the better due to the trails that have been built. It's now commonplace to see mtbs racked up outside cafes, a steady stream of cars with bikes on top, riders coming from the train station, riders of all shapes, age and size riding the trails. Councils have also taken notice of the letters you have written over the years thanking them but also pointing out shortcomings of the existing trails and how they could be improved.

There are three parts to this trail expansion:

The first is the relocation of the mountain bike trails lost to the Northconnex Quarry filling project. The proposal can be viewed and commented on via this link (NOTE - the link appears outdated; watch this space for it to be restored.)

You will see that there are plans for green, blue and black relocation. So we will have fresh new trails with the existing skill progression to help the community get out and enjoy the outdoors!

The second is really cool. Some of you know that we've been working with Council and Sydney Water for years to come up with a user agreement to legalise the unofficial trails on the Sydney Water land in Westleigh. Well things weren't going so well and things were drifting. Then boom - hello, Council has stumped up 21 million and bought the land for recreational purpose - sweet. So keep an eye out for updates.

We know that the current trails at Hornsby aren't ideal. They are way too short (about 3.5km of blue), the green trail is hard to get to for kids, some trails just go through horrid degraded land, and there is no shade or water or toilets. The proposed changes and new trails are going to help address some of these issues and longer term I think we are going to see Hornsby as the centre of mountain biking in Sydney.

The third is the Active Living Hornsby Strategy (ALHS). We are yet to see the final version but sadly the first draft seemed to misunderstand forum feedback. Although it said there was a need for recreational trails to connect places up, it seemed to say that these didn't need to be rideable - walking only. We provided feedback to try and address this but we need to wait and see what happens. Other places in Australia, NZ and the world have been building multi use trail networks to allow people to ride between suburbs. Imagine spending millions on more walking trails (to add to the 100's of km we already have) and not putting the effort in to make the gradients gentle enough to ride. Let's hope the long term effort is made to make them multi use rather than walkers only.

We will need your help on a few fronts. Voicing your opinion to HSC is vital. Thank them, challenge them, criticise them - but let them know your thoughts. They are currently making decisions about where to spend the money they are getting from all the high rise apartment building. Providing recreational facilities for the future needs new ideas rather then relying on traditional approaches. Unstructured recreations like walking, running and cycling are key due to their efficient use of land. But some think that a short trail that most people have to drive their car to is enough. Most of you know that it isn't. Providing riding (we would argue multi use) routes from other parts of Hornsby Shire to the trails and parklands are important - otherwise car usage and traffic congestion will just increase.

Land managers have a real challenge in providing recreational opportunities for the growing community of Sydney. We see land managers closing trails (sometimes with no consultation with stakeholders), or basically missing the mark when they do try and put in something. Many land managers appear to struggle to find the resources to consult with the community on an ongoing basis. So to see Hornsby Council put in the effort (and it's been a tough road at times with some robust discussion since 2007) to try and move us closer to having a facility that meets the community needs is really A W E S O M E !


PS - If you would like to help with trail building then please drop us an email."

nstylin777's picture

But will only fill the quarry pit by a third

"The spoil haulage is expected to last up to 28 months and is not due to be completed until the end of 2018. At its peak, there will be 70 trucks travelling through Hornsby every hour from the excavation site to the pit."

Read more:

Comment viewing options

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

Best Mountain Bike