They’re playing my song

ROBYN COLLEDGE loves Manning Park, walking its trails watching owls raise their young and rare cockies foraging. With a recent letter writer suggested opponents of a proposed mountain park train stay off the “fauna bandwagon” (Herald letters, July 10, 2021), she asks: “Why?”

IN response to the 50-year-old environmental health professional, who has told me not to “get on the fauna bandwagon”, I don’t want to get off the fauna bandwagon, its lovely.

I can only presume you are a male (with children?), have a very good job (ie, able to buy expensive equipment such as mountain bike/s), have good health insurance and are able to go on mountain biking holidays with family and/or friends (perhaps to Whistler, BC – an area with 11 kilometres of adrenaline-pumping tracks) and have the ability to pay for the best hotels in the area, plus bike fees, (last prices $83 per adult) plus eating out. 

Poor Manning Ridge – where the initial bike track concept was for 21kms.

I can see a restaurant on the ridge where we can employ locals.

Research suggests that mountain bikers are mostly male, predominantly between ages 25-44, relatively affluent with high household incomes, and generally well educated. 

Not jealous

This is information gathered from trail planning and design consultants Common Ground; I’m stating a fact and not jealous.

Why can’t I get on the fauna bandwagon?

That may be all that I have, but fortunately I have a vast number of choices – surfing, running, football, yoga, (sport, hmm), soccer, horse riding, skiing (snow and water), snowboarding, hiking, fishing, kayaking, rowing, card games, athletics, archery, basketball, sailing, shooting, tennis, windsurfing, etc, etc. (I’m exhausted) – and there’s the huge number of games on our addictive digital devices. 

Yes, that’s what you are talking about – getting kids off their devices. Get their parents off the devices too. 

I enjoy the Manning Park area, its lake, its bushland and the amazing flora and fauna available to me. 

It gets me away from all the frenetic ‘doing’ which needs to be done. 

This may not be your cup of tea, but it’s mine.

Why do we have to use everything to make it useful?

The problem with the whole mountain bike fiasco is that the City of Cockburn opened the gates to mountain bikers without the proper guidelines being followed as outlined in Western Australian Mountain Bike Management Guidelines (Version 1.0 (2019).

It appears state and local government organisations, WestCycle, the then sport and cultural industries department, private citizens (all volunteering) spent a lot of time developing these guidelines so an “us and them” situation would not arise.

The City of Cockburn chose to circumvent this process saying “they’re only guidelines”.

Try side-stepping any council guidelines and you are in serious trouble. 

Mountain bike riders can take their grievances out on the City of Cockburn and its elected representatives. 

I can walk along the limestone pathways, see the flora emerging into the new phase of its life (winter-spring, summer-autumn), and enjoy it, plus the view from the top is amazing.

Burrowing

I await the return of the rainbow bee eaters and their burrowing, catch glimpses of the new tawny owl babies being tended to by their parents, and the crunching of hakea seeds by the well-hidden and noisily chattering Carnabys cockatoo. 

This land has unique qualities, and is very fragile.

The whole of Australia has existed for 60,000+ years, and has been able to accommodate its peoples during that time. 

Department of Conservation has deemed Manning Ridge as having “potential presence of declared rare and priority flora, including Priority 4, etc, etc.” 

Prior to implementation of any trails/tracks the council will be required to consider the implementation of the Cockburn Coastal Drive (remember that from Roe8, east of Cockburn Rd/west of The Ridge?), site contamination (asbestos and building debris being dumped from over 40 years ago), fauna management, drainage, fire risk (which is required for any new housing in the near vicinity) and a proper Flora and Fauna survey required by EPA.

Years

It could take years. 

The graders were stopped approximately one year ago. 

The council is still dragging its heels and have stated “some other big items” have held up progress, costing nearly $1m (ratepayers, hmm what are they?). 

In the meantime mountain bikers, walkers, runners, etc, become more and more frustrated. 

Mountain Bikers with “nothing’s happening” and fauna lovers with “too much is happening”.

In the meantime the council will be looking at other avenues to circumvent (again), implementing the mountain bike tracks. 

Oh yes, where’s the working party we were promised after the six-month moratorium (delivery of petition – 20 July, 2020).

The only US and THEM is the US who enjoy the Manning Park ridge for its many qualities and the THEM, the council who are dealing with issues.

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