NEWS THAT MATTERS

Unauthorised bike tracks

raise community concern

Central Coast Council has finally commenced proactive patrols in natural reserves and is now continuing to monitor open space areas for unauthorised bike jump and track builds.

Illegal BMX track - Bronzewing Drive, Erind

14 September 2021

 

COUNCIL Director Environment and Planning, Scott Cox said Council had received an increased number of reports from the community about unauthorised mountain bike and BMX tracks and structures being built right across the coast.


“Unauthorised bike tracks and jumps are constructed without any approval or assessment of impacts to environment, heritage or other reserve users,” Mr Cox said.


“They have the potential to negatively impact trees, native vegetation and the habitat of our local native animals; provide greater access for foxes, cats and dogs into bushland which makes native fauna more vulnerable to predation; alter natural drainage patterns and cause soil erosion or water pollution; damage sites of Aboriginal or European heritage value; and attract littering and illegal dumping.


“Because the risks are higher in our natural reserves, we have increased proactive patrols by our Community Safety Officers to monitor community compliance with the Local Government Act – The act of knowingly causing these impacts is an offence and penalties may apply to those people found to be responsible."

 

Council Unit Manager Open Space and Recreation, Brett Sherar said Council was also monitoring unauthorised builds in open space areas including parks and playgrounds.


“We are taking a pragmatic approach to the informal BMX jump tracks being built in open space areas. This is a very difficult time for many in our community and the current lockdown restrictions in place mean many children are unable to attend school and all formal sport and recreation has ceased,” Mr Sherar said.


“We will continue to monitor reported sites and if the level of risk increases, we will take appropriate action at that time.”

 

A Central Coast resident Joy said that while taking a long walk she came across a park parallel to Bronzewing Drive Erina, which had some play equipment and also an area with trees and a pathway. She wrote to Central Coast and advised them of the illegal construction of BMX tracks in the park.

 

She said to Council “is someone one knocking people off and burying them (it sure looks like that), or is it because they are creating their own play space?”

 

“Should the Central Coast Council be looking at their decision making, and if the decisions they make really reflect the needs and demands of the residents?” she said.

 

“What will the council be doing to ensure these places are safe for all who visit, and to ensure natural areas are protected?

 

“Is the lack of remediation of these areas resulting in a proliferation in other locations?”

The Grapevine contacted Mr Sherar from Council and discussed the issue with him. His final answer to the problem was “If the informal BMX tracks are not causing environmental harm and the risk to the greater public is minimal then we are currently not removing them from open space areas. At this moment there is a greater mental health benefit for our children in leaving them as is.”

 

So, what happens if someone is injured because of the illegal constructions that Council, at the behest of Mr Sherar, has left in place?

 

Digging up public ground for BMX track mounds in public places poses a risk to the community and creates a public liability problem no matter how you try and justify it.

 

There are authorised and properly constructed BMX tracks at San Remo, Terrigal, Long Jetty, Bateau Bay and Umina, to name but a few. So, why should the community tolerate public liability exposure under the guise of Covid to placate the whims of the minority.

 

Central Council self-insures and any liability claim is borne from ratepayer’s money - you, the community, would ultimately pay the claimant.


For more information on authorised BMX tracks, search ‘bike tracks’ at centralcoast.nsw.gov.au


To report an unauthorised bike jump or track, click the ‘Report an issue’ icon at centralcoast.nsw.gov.au

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Central Coast NSW

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