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Thanks to everyone for turning up tonight.

moggio's picture

By moggio - Posted on 14 December 2010

Well thanks to everyone for turning up and supporting us at council even though the decision is slill leaving us in limbo for another 3 months.

We are still looking in detail as to what this decision means, but in some ways it is not unexpected Really it doesn't require anything to be done that wasn't going to be done anyway... it is just being handled differently.

.... so thanks again, in the next few days we will have more on what this means and what we have to do. As Malcolm Fraser said "Life wasn't meant to be easy".

Chuck's picture

Well done to all involved and to those that showed up to support. We had about 25 riders turn up and it was good to meet a few new faces too.

moggio's picture

The good thing was a few councillors are convinced now this is a good plan. The others didn't reject it, just requested they be kept in the loop for the environmental assessments that would have had to happen anyway.

I think for some who have obviously been elected on a stance of environmental concerns such as the Greens have they need to tread vaery carfefully and be as across the issue to make a decsion either way.

In many ways I was surprised by Clr Gibbs proposals because I was expecting a rejection of the recommendations, but she seems prepared to still look into it but requires further information from an independant assessor. Its a little like enough with the lobby groups, lets go higher.

Frustrating, but we don't want to sneak this in, we want to get it through in a solid, transparent and above board way.

BM Epic's picture

One thing that kept popping up from the nicholls parade section of the community and i use that term loosely, is nichols pde itself, we should be putting as much distance from ourselves to this place as much as possible, they seemed to score points last night by associating us with nicholls pde, funny thing was that woman explaining how bad things were with weeds etc and she walks her dog through there?????????.
I see now Mark what these people( and i use that term loosely in this reference ) were like at the original meeting!!!!

moggio's picture

I just don't get the inistance on the Nichol's Pde people and their complete crusade against mountain bikes. I guess they saw the track built there and assume all tracks are like that and they have complete blinders on to accepting anything different. So suddenly very knowledgeable council staff are insulted and I imagine all the other bodies locally such as the NPWS, other councils and government agencies are also ignorant.

However we were talking to the Blue Mountains Conservation Society people after who of course have objections and are passionate about the issue. We may disagree on some fundamentals but they are genuine and obviously very knowledgeable on what they talk about. They are also interested in us giving them a tour of what we are proposing so they can have real understanding of our perspective.

Original march meeting was amazing the vitriol directed at us 9 riders there... we were really scum getting really dirty looks and the commentry was pretty full on. The amount we have improved our image by just being seen for what we are rather than a few people's perceptions is quite impressive.

beaver's picture

Quote of the night by kingy...'i just thought it was the side of a hill?'... in response to a question from a councillor about the 'escarpment'...awesome!

Kingy's picture


Andrei74's picture

Hats of to all of you for putting in such a massive effort!!

OK this is the third time I start this reply. I'm simply infuriated. Why is it ok for people to walk their dogs that crap everywhere in the bush. Dogs also piss on every second tree, that's gotta disturb local wild life for sure. And why is it ok for the council to knock down half a dozen trees just to build another set of fucking net ball courts? If these residents were so concerned about the environment, how come none of them live in straw bale or earth bag homes that are sustainable low energy homes? How come trucks can drive across the mountains? Why are there hundreds of walking tracks and only one mtb trail in the mountains?

I think we are fighting a losing battle here. The local just simply don't want to share the bush with us (which they don't actually own). What are they so scared about?

I'm sorry guys I could really go on and on.....

moggio's picture

I think it comes to being used to the idea. As Matthew pointed out the mountains are full of golf courses which are huge tracts of cleared land that also allow the escape of lots of nutrients off the ridges. And heck near me there is one at Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba and Blackheath.. they are everywhere, but accepted.

Mtb tracks in a lot of areas are new things that have popped up illicitly (like every walking track in the mountains). I think people just don't like being near something new that changes their area.

The irony of the line Lynn Wiezel said about taking her dog for a walk on the escarpment while having a go at mtbers I'm glad sank in with quite a few people.

We have improved the perception of us and our wants quite considerably. Still more to do and some we will never win over. We need to get across some more information and proving what is possible in the field would be a great help. The first step is definately proving to be the hardest.

waratah's picture

Moggio answered this question well. I truly believe that the objections to mtbiking is less about the environment and more about the sharing of public space. The environment is just used as a convenient issue so they don't look like selfish bastards.

That is why it is so important in my opinion to slow down to walking pace when passing every walker you see. Smile and say "Hello, nice day!" or whatever. I know this is one of the core principles of IMBA to "yield track", and it also serves as an important mechanism for the sport to gain mainstream community support.

J the B's picture

As with most things, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions, no perfect rules, and things are always changing. Some state/council land you can walk in, some you can ride in, some you can walk a dog in, some you can ride a moto in, some you can even shoot in. However, in the mountains, things are more on the restricted side (and rightly so).
The biggest hurdle that needs to be overcome, is that there is no successful precedent. There are no legal MTB tracks that the residents can look at and realise that they aren't such a bad thing. All they've got to go on is DIY, illegal trails, that come with the usual list of issues, and no control and no real ownership by the community. These illegal trails haven't been built by the community, they've been built by individuals who are perceived as "acting outside (and therefore against) the community."

We'll get legal trails. It's just a matter of putting in some good PR time and slowly convincing people that legal, approved, community owned trails are not the same as the bad experiences they have come across before.

Nerf Herder's picture

I don't think we should be creating a them versus us mentality ! There will always be opposing views regardless of the issue. I see that those opposed are trying to do whats best, given their concerns, or level of understanding. So its a better use of our time if we try to address these concerns IMO.

I don't think we should be disheartened by what happened at the last meeting, in fact we should note the positives

i) The Conservation Society supports MTB. This is huge, they are not opposed to the XC trails, infact similar to NPWS they are not opposed to XC or All Mountain (AM). However, they are even more supportive then NPWS in that they are willing to support OBR [or paraphrasing existing trails]. Wow !!

ii) Staff have set and detailed process and procedure ... exactly what NPWS follow, and all councillors have supported the report that this process and procedure will produce. Soooo Wow ! Staff are again the subject matter experts and all this rubbishing by those opposed has been discounted. Although some of you may think "Big deal Al ... thats exactly what was said in the June and September meetings that those opposed did not attend !!" I say Wow, because by allowing staff to follow their well documented and consistent process (consistent with other land managers and jurisdictions) we remove all this subjective and philosophical argument. We leave it to the experts and the powers that be, both state and commonwealth regulators / government bodies to decide.
- This is important because it sets the rules that we can follow and adhere to, and is exactly the recommendation we made as part of the NPWS discussion paper. The rules have to apply to both sides and if it turns out to be negative for us, then council are committed to finding an alternative location.

iii) The relevant report and process to be followed is exactly in line with what BMORC, IMBA and the broader riding community in NSW outlined in our feedback to the NPWS discussion paper. We need these assessments to identify if an area is appropriate and or if we will be impacting the flora and fauna in a deterimental way. We aren't the experts so following the established process and procedures helps us with our own goals of enjoying the bush and Conserving it and our access for future generations. Legitimate Trails ... Wow !

iv) We are now working or at least are in communication with the Conservation society. Wow ! Without that last meeting, we wouldn't have known that Myrtle Rust (MR) is in the area we live and play in. Well we did get infor from our NPWS contacts within a couple of days of the meeting, but you know what I mean.
- We also have an opportunity to show the society how we can make a difference and convert trails to a zero impact through Sustainable trail design. Wow !!
- Oh did I mention they support OBR ... WOWOWOWOWOWOW !!!

v) Lastly, I believe more of the Councillors understand what we are trying to do. I believe they now know we aren't "Vandals with Search Engines" and instead we love the bush, we want to conserve it, and Kingy has more then highlighted the level of enthusiasm and dedication by walking that side of the mountain with Clr McCallum and Greenhill and Luchetti on so many occasions, door knocking and letting Clr McCallum get a feel for the level of support directly from the people that live across the street from Knapsack. (not to mention the count less hours of mapping Michael and others have put in)

Not withstanding all these positives, numbers count, and those opposed will be trying their best to rake up support, probably in a similarly misleading way that they did o close OBR ... So the only way to combat this is for numbers. Get actively involved, turn out to all the events being organised, and slot in a time to attend the March 2011 meeting or whenever the Knapsack REF it to be tabled by Staff.

sorry for the novel.

*edits: typos

Andy Bloot's picture

And let's start referring to trails that are not authorised by council as unauathorised NOT illegal
Riding on unauthorised trails (including single track) is not illegal unless signposted otherwise
i have heard this from council staff and I'm sure Mog can confirm this as well
And the word illegal conjures up all sorts of bad connotations and images

Going into the bush and digging a trail is illegal
Riding that trail is not
While this may seem contradictory, it's true

The Brown Hornet's picture

Agreement with Bloot on the use of the terms "unauthorised" and "illegal".

It is grouse that some organisations are now seeing mountain bike riders as a help, not a hinderance.

Just as an aside to the whole myrtle rust thing. The info Vickii sent through was in response to me asking her after reading the post from sammydog. Being the computer illiterate that I am (except for BMORC, farkin and ebay!) I sat on it for a *ahem* few days. As far as the "outbreak" in the Blue Mtns, are they (whoever "they" may be) positive that there is an outbreak? I thought I may have missed something because the NPWS folk haven't mentioned anything. Interesting.

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