THE Spearwood Progress Association has given its blessing to Cockburn council’s plans for a mountain bike trail in Manning Park, although it wants the original plan scaled back.
In a release sent to the Herald, the association said it was a recent tour of the site with the council’s environment manager Chris Beaton that prompted the support.
Shocked by the unauthorised trails and structures, including a steel and timber one called “The Burn” which helps riders navigate a downhill turn, the group said it was clear something had to be done.
“Whilst enjoying the views of the stunning Cockburn coastline we were disappointed to see dogs off leads and at one point a motorbike rider came roaring up one of the mountain bike trails, much to the disgust of the environmental manager who was quick to move him along,” the association’s release said.
While criticising the council for “dropping the ball” when it came to managing the parkland ridge, the release said a 2018 masterplan which flagged the mountain bike trails was a step forward.
“There is no doubt there are a lot of health benefits from this sport and anything that gets kids away from their console games would be a bonus.”
Association president Antony Svilicich confirmed to the Herald they would be asking the council for a scaled-back plan.
“Yes we would like to see a reduction in the size of the trail from the proposed 15km down to 8km maximum,” Mr Svilicich said.
“I believe the council is coming up with a second concept plan for the trails.”
Following the initial release, which prompted swift backlash and some misinformation, the council has established a new committee of experts and residents provide feedback on the new design.
The residents’ association says it’s asked for a design that caters for the ever-growing number of mountain bike enthusiasts, and helps get kids off the X-box, but still maintains the natural beauty of the park.
It’s also hoping to hold a planting day to help revegetate some of the areas damaged by the riders.
“The time has come to take back control of Manning Park and turn it into one of the city’s best natural assets, and the SPA stands ready to participate in constructive dialogue which takes into consideration the views of all stakeholders,” the release said.