Trail deferred

Manning Ridge friends protest against the proposed bike trail. Photo by Ellie Waltz

COCKBURN council has put off making a decision on a contentious mountain bike trail in Manning Park after a gruelling and often passionate debate on Thursday evening.

A full chamber heard debate from both sides of the argument after anti-bike protestors gathered before the meeting to chant “solidarity, bush forever, bush forever and “mountain bikers out out out, cockatoos in in in”. 

During question time Friends of Manning Park Ridge member Megan Jaceglav pleaded to the council to not contribute further the “cockatoo crisis” and damage the important acacia and tuart woodlands that make up the park. 

Manning Park Trail Runners spokesperson Clint Slomp said the park’s current system of trails were used often used by his group and provided beneficial factors such as mental health and wellbeing.

“Removing the trails would rip the heart out of our community,” Mr Slomp said. 

But councillor Tarun Dewan was concerned about the impact of the park’s informal trail network: “Nature cannot be restored ever, health and wellbeing can be found in other places.” he responded. 

One bike rider who said he regularly used the park with his family urged the council not to ban mountain bikes, as had been recommended in a staff report, but simply upgrade existing paths.

“Happy with trails as they are; they have worked so far and I don’t see them working in the future,” he argued.

A recent public survey showed 60 per cent of respondents felt positively about the council’s bike plans but quarrelled over environmental outcomes of endangered flora and fauna. 

Carnaby’s black cockatoos forage and roost in the park and are among one of the many ecological communities groups such as the Friends of Manning Park Ridge fear are at risk of the proposed plans. 

Kings Park

World renowned botanist and ecologist professor Kingsley Dixon had previously praised the officer’s report, which had recommended banning bikes from the park, removing the unauthorised trails and stepping up enforcement: “Manning ridge is your Kings Park, it is an area of outstanding values with an irreplaceable ecosystem,” he said.

But in the end councillor Chontelle Stone said the council couldn’t ignore the findings of a working group, which hadn’t recommended banning bikes, but had suggested a long and comprehensive study of the park to identify whether they were acceptable or if the environmental values were too high. Her recommendation called for a deferral on a decision and a report to come back to councillors by September.

One response to “Trail deferred

  1. Manning Park is a bush forever park. The City of Cockburn has allowed and turned a blind eye to the illegal …… oh what is the use of going on? I am sick of wasting my breath on actions that are wrong and the City does not care. Within the next couple of years under this government there will be no community consultation on any issues and local government will be deemed the third tier and we won’t have a say on anything. Local government will do as they are told and there will be no such thing as local councillors. They will be gagged, even more than they are now and they will do as they are told by their political mates.

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