Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Secret bike park political deal

“Political interference has altered an Illawarra Escarpment reserve plan of management from preventing downhill bike tracks[1] to one that can approve construction of up to 82 kilometres of mountain bike tracks.  This rotten deal must the thrown out.  If adopted, it will see up to 16 hectares of the reserve’s sensitive vegetation cleared. There is no way such clearing of a reserve should be allowed and it would be of doubtful legality,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“The draft Bike Strategy and Concept Plan are a sneaky deal that ignores park laws and due process.  The bike lobby mustered just one submission to the Illawarra Escarpment reserve draft plan of management in support of mountain bike riding.  Now the lobby wants taxpayer money to be spent building 37 kilometres of tracks in the short term causing untold damage to the park,” Mr Muir said.

“The draft bike strategy ignores the direction by a 11 March 2013 Wollongong City Council resolution[2] to commission a Feasibility Study for a ‘Bike Park’, that was “to ensure no additional damage to native flora, fauna and ecosystems in the Illawarra escarpment and foothills.”  Council got its bike park strategy, but it will wreck the Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area if it is adopted, said Mr Muir.

“This draft Bike Strategy ignored Council’s directions, and has perverted NPWS management plan making processes and sovereignty of the park’s plan of management that regulates visitor use,” he said.

“Support of the draft bike strategy and concept plan must be renounced by Council, Gareth Ward, Liberal for Kiama, and Ryan Park, Labor for Keira because it proposes works that will significantly clear and damage the reserve’s conservation values, including rainforest”, Mr Muir said. 

The Draft Illawarra Escarpment Mountain Bike Track Strategy and Concept Plan are on public exhibition until December 10, 2018. 

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404 (mob)