Thank you Chair.
I rise to speak about Item A – Brisbane’s Off-Road Cycling Strategy.
As the Chair has indicated from day 1, this draft strategy is about trying to get a balance between conservation and recreation.
Mount Coot-tha in my Ward is a prime example. It’s one of the city’s crown jewels and can, and should be for the enjoyment of all.
We can’t ignore the popularity of off-road cycling as a sport and if this is encouraging people to get out and be fit and healthy, that can only be a good thing.
We have sanctioned trails on the mountain and Council has memoranda of understandings with users such as off-road cycling groups to maintain them.
I also get the concerns raised about protecting the natural environment and I support that.
In assessing opportunities for more off-road cycling, it is important we back this up with strong compliance. Use the sanctioned trails by all means, but go creating unauthorised trails and damaging the environment and you will pay the penalty.
Mr Chair, at the invitation of the Brisbane Off-Road Riders Alliance last Saturday, I accepted an invitation to walk Whipbird Way on Mount Coot-tha.
I can report that the maximum number of volunteer members were out in the heat for over half the day maintaining that trail. Those I spoke to along the way talked about the passion for their sport and the importance of preserving our natural assets.
I was particularly impressed with what they were doing to ensure the protection of waterways on the mountain and the natural environment.
I know there have been a large number of submissions as part of community consultation with this strategy and that’s a good thing. But I remain hopeful, even confident that we will get the balance right for all stakeholders going forward.