Thank you Chair
I rise to speak on Item A – the Mount Coot-tha Reserve Mountain Bike Concept Plan.
This plan, along with the Trail Care programme, are key actions from the Schrinner Council’s Off-Road Cycling Strategy which was released in December 2021.
Mount Coot-tha reserve in my Ward has an extensive network of diverse tracks and trails, and is a popular destination for a range of recreation activities.
Key stakeholders and the community were invited to provide feedback late last year in relation to the Mountain Bike Concept Plan.
As Cr. Davis pointed out, more than 1,100 respondents completed the online survey while a further 46 provided submissions.
Their feedback strong supported the following three proposals:
- A dedicated area for future mountain bike tracks
- Dedicated areas for walking and shared use purposes, and
- The removal of the Frogmouth mountain bike track, reverting back to an area for walking
They also told us to address the construction and use of unauthorised tracks and ensure rider and track safety.
And just as important was to ensure that in the provision of tracks and facilities, the reserve’s important biodiversity needs to be protected.
We said from day 1 – and its remains the case today – that our Off Road Cycling strategy was about striking a balance between allowing certain uses on authorised tracks while at the same time ensuring the protection of the city’s unique and important environmental assets.
And Chair, I believe we are achieving that through the Mount Coot-tha Reserve Mountain Bike Concept Plan.
Lets look at our key priorities at Mount Coot-tha going forward.
I like that in the coming year, we are considering a mix of tracks to cater for varying riding skills.
A new mountain beginner track loop, a mountain bike skills track and improved climbing tracks from the Gap Creek Picnic Area are all great initiatives which I believe will be greeted with enthusiasm by mountain riding enthusiasts across Brisbane.
Chair, I also note that one of the proposed key outcomes in the plan refers to improved mountain bike signage, education and compliance.
Two weekends ago, following concerns raised by a local resident about riders on the walk-only Honeyeater track, I spent some time there talking to residents along the way.
Did I see any bike riders? Yes, two young boys. Did they know they shouldn’t be riding that track? I wasn’t quick enough to catch them to have that discussion.
But there is a case for better signs at the beginning of the track near the THECA Hut and in Fleming Road near Greenford Street to leave riders in no doubt they can’t be there, and its something I have flagged with the NEWS team.
Chair, finally, and I touched on it at the beginning, is building on the success of trail care on the mountain in the coming year.
I want to acknowledge the role of Council’s Deana Nicholls whose passion, enthusiasm and ability to work with the various volunteers has contributed to the high standard of tracks we now see at Mount Coot-tha.
Deana has overseen the delivery of safe to ride, well maintained tracks that are resilient to wet weather events while at the same time, ensuring the protection of the environmental values of our natural areas.
Chair, our off-road strategy and concept plan for Mount Coot-tha are works in progress and I commend the Chair of Natural Environment, Cr. Davis and her officers in NEWS for their efforts in delivering what I believe is a balanced and sensible outcome not only for Mount Coot-tha but the residents of Brisbane.