Mountain Bike Feasibility Study

Mountain Bike Feasibility Study

Mountain Bike Feasibility Study
This project is currently open for consultation.

With participation in mountain bike (MTB) riding as both a sport and a recreational activity increasing, and demand for suitable areas to ride growing, it is important to plan ahead in a sustainable way. Mountain biking also has the potential to provide tourism opportunities and economic development.

While Council provides for MTB riding on designated fire and management trails in some of its natural reserves, a number of unauthorised trails have also been constructed. The construction of unauthorised MTB trails poses environmental, heritage and reputational risk to Council in terms of legislation, community expectations and the experience of other reserve users. Unauthorised MTB trails may also pose a risk to riders where construction is poor or where the level of difficulty is unknown to the rider.

There is currently no strategic framework for managing the rapidly increasing demand for mountain biking across the Central Coast. In light of this, we’re undertaking a Mountain Bike Feasibility Study, to gather some of the information required to inform a strategic framework.

By identifying the role that Council’s natural reserves may play in the provision of mountain biking experiences across the Central Coast, Council will be better able to protect areas of high conservation and heritage value, minimise the key drivers for the building of unauthorised trail construction and maximise the safe use of Council reserves by all visitors.
 

What you have told us so far

Between 5 June to 2 July 2019 we carried out initial public consultation to inform the feasibility study. We received 1949 survey responses and 25 targeted stakeholders attended at two face-to-face focus groups. We encouraged everyone to respond to the survey, including all community members and visitors, MTB riders, environmentalists and nature reserve users. A detailed review of the feedback we received is presented in the engagement report. This consultation helped us to understand community views, demand, utilisation, opportunities and risks for mountain biking on the Central Coast.

We recognise there are different views within the community on how to respond to the demand for mountain biking on the Central Coast, and there are also some are areas of agreement.

  • 95% of survey respondents support (agree or strongly agree) continuing to allow MTBing where currently allowed (on some existing fire trails as shared use)
  • 87% of survey respondents are concerned about lack of authorised trails for MTBing
  • 75% of survey respondents are concerned about lack of clarity regarding which trails are authorised
  • 52% of survey respondents are concerned about construction of unauthorised MTB trails

Discussion paper

The Mountain Bike Feasibility Study Discussion Paper and Engagement Report present the findings of the feasibility study initiated by Central Coast Council in 2019. The Discussion Paper was informed by what the community and stakeholders told us during the first round of consultation.

Before making a submission on the Discussion Paper, we strongly recommend:

This will ensure your feedback is relevant for this stage of the consultation process.

Got a question?

Have your say

We want to capture the community’s feedback on the Discussion Paper and identify if there is any consensus on the options or recommendations before making any further recommendations to Council. You can provide feedback:

Submissions will be accepted between 22 February 2021 and 22 March 2021.

When providing feedback to Council your attention is drawn to the provisions of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 which allows for possible access to certain public and personal documentation. View our privacy statement.

Open

Timeline

5
Public exhibition of discussion paper
×
Who's listening
Name
Sharyn Styman, Environmental Officer

Frequently asked questions

What is a feasibility study?

A feasibility study is an assessment of whether a project is viable or not. Specifically for this project, it is to understand the feasibility of providing MTB trails and riding opportunities within the Central Coast region that are safe for users of the natural reserve and MTB riders – all while protecting areas of high conservation and heritage value and minimising the key drivers for the building of unauthorised trail construction.

Why is Council undertaking a feasibility study for mountain biking?

MTB riding is a growing sport. Participation in the activity as nature-based recreation is increasing and demand for suitable areas to ride is also growing.  Many riders are looking for forest trails and natural areas to ride through in the same way residents seek bushwalking opportunities.

While Council provides for MTB riding on fire and management trail systems in its natural reserves, a number of unauthorised trails have also been constructed in some reserves. The construction of unauthorised MTB trails poses environmental and reputational risk to Council in terms of legislation, community expectations and the experience of other reserve users.  Unauthorised MTB trails may also pose a risk to riders where construction is poor or where the level of difficulty is unknown to the rider.

With rising demand for this recreation activity it is important to plan ahead for provision in a sustainable way that not only protects sensitive areas, but also provides new opportunities for the community and enhances nature-based tourism in the region. Many councils are planning and providing MTB trails to meet community needs and, in some cases to expand the tourism appeal of their region. MTB-based tourism can bring a new market, one that is focused on nature-based recreation and that values protection of the natural environment.

MTB riders involve a broad section of the community including many families, young people and adults, and as such, there are a number of MTB riding opportunities sought including: descent trails, cross country riding and skills. The majority of demand is recreational, but there are also club-based competitions and skill development that require specific tracks.

What is the aim of the feasibility study?

The aims of the Mountain Biking Feasibility Study are to assist in planning for recreation in Council’s natural reserves by:

  • Identifying the role that Council’s natural reserves may play in the provision of mountain biking experiences across the Central Coast
  • Protecting areas of high conservation and heritage value
  • Minimising the key drivers for the building of unauthorised trails
  • Maximising the safe use of Council reserves by all visitors

Please note that this project relates to MTB riding and does not include trail bikes, motorbikes etc.

What is a discussion paper?

This Discussion Paper presents the findings of Mountain Bike Feasibility Study and is intended to support an informed conversation with the community on topics including:

  1. Key concerns and issues toward mountain biking 
  2. Selecting suitable sites 
  3. Options for managing demand for mountain biking on the Central Coast 

The Discussion Paper and the community’s feedback will inform Council’s future planning for recreation in Council’s natural reserves.

What are the next steps in the feasibility study?

A report will go to Council in mid 2021 presenting the outcomes of the community consultation on the Discussion Paper, including a Consultation Report. The Discussion Paper, Engagement Report and Consultation Report will inform the final recommendations made in the report to Council in relation to the provision for and management of mountain biking trails in Council’s natural reserves.

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