Public exhibition of the draft strategy provided an opportunity for the community to have a say in relation to a draft Illawarra Escarpment Mountain Bike Strategy prepared by Office Environment and Heritage (OEH) and Wollongong City Council.
The draft strategy is a Government response to the need for better management of mountain bike use of the escarpment. Mountain biking occurs on the escarpment both legally and illegally. The demands and impacts of mountain bike use on the escarpment are increasing. Many trails provide a good riding experience, but their condition and sustainability vary greatly. The adverse safety, environmental and cultural impacts of illegal use and ad-hoc trail development need to be addressed to ensure the activity is sustainable into the future.
The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and Wollongong City Council developed the draft strategy from a mountain bike concept plan developed by Dirt Art, a company who specialises in mountain bike trail design. Environmental data, field investigations, a preliminary cultural heritage assessment and information from mountain bike riders and other stakeholders was used. A Mountain Bike Working Group that consists of state government agencies, tourism bodies, mountain biking groups and land managers have also had input into the draft strategy.
The draft strategy proposed a sustainable network of mountain bike trails on the Illawarra escarpment and provided a basis for engagement with Aboriginal people and the broader community about the proposal.
The primary emphasis of the strategy is safe sustainable recreation for a broad range of riders. It identifies a total potential mountain bike trail network of 82 kilometres on the escarpment. Trails have been prioritised for implementation in 3 stages, with up to 37 kilometres proposed for short-term construction.
The network trails will allow separation of mountain bike riders from bushwalkers. In the few places where trails cross public roads or walking tracks, speed reducing devices will be included in the design.
Public feedback will inform the preparation of a final Illawarra Escarpment Mountain Bike Strategy.
How can I get more information about the proposal?
What happens next?
At the end of the public exhibition period, NPWS and Wollongong City Council will comprehensively review all public feedback and prepare a submissions report that will be available to the public. The feedback will inform a final Strategy, which will then be adopted by OEH and council.
Implementation is subject to adoption of the draft Strategy, environmental assessments and approvals under NSW legislation and availability of funding and management resources.
A comprehensive Review of Environmental Factors and heritage assessment will be undertaken before any works commence on the mountain bike trails. These studies will identify any potential environmental and or cultural impacts and the measures required to protect these values.
All existing illegally constructed trails that are not required, or not suitable, for the track network in the Strategy will be closed and rehabilitated.