No trails, but new park could be in the offing

Kellie BalaamNarrogin Observer
Recommended location for pump track, bike playground and beginner/intermediate jump lines in context of the Gnarojin Park Masterplan.
Camera IconRecommended location for pump track, bike playground and beginner/intermediate jump lines in context of the Gnarojin Park Masterplan. Credit: Common Ground Trails

Shire of Narrogin councillors have scrapped plans for purpose-built mountain bike trails in Foxes Lair and Railway Dam Reserve.

In July last year, Common Ground Trails presented council with a draft Pump Track and Mountain Bike Feasibility Study which identified opportunities for the Shire to provide mountain biking experiences for tourists, visitors and residents.

The study noted there was a shortage of pump and jump track facilities in the Wheatbelt, with demand for a facility in Narrogin identified through an online community process.

Mountain bike trails could help the Shire retain young families.

At last week’s council meeting, Shire officers recommended council endorse the draft feasibility study after the public submission period closed in October last year.

But councillors were advised not to support the development of purpose-built trails in Foxes Lair and Railway Dam Reserve because consultation showed the community wanted to use existing trails where practical.

The Department of Local Government and Sport and Cultural Industries, Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions, the Narrogin Cycling Collective and Friends of Foxes Lair all submitted feedback.

The DBCA encouraged the Shire to ensure that important conservation values were taken into consideration in the planning and development of any new facilities.

The NCC had their own ideas on how the bike trails should be designed, constructed and maintained.

FFL said purpose-built mountain bike trails would not attract enough visitors to justify the high construction and maintenance costs.

“The Shire’s Foxes Lair Management Plan indicates that a single purpose mountain bike track is not suitable in the reserve,” the group said.

“Adding such a track to the existing trail and road system would have severe consequences to the valuable wildlife and flora values, and other users including bushwalkers, bird watchers, wildflower lovers, families, and dog walkers.”

Council voted in favour of the recommendation not to proceed with the design and construction of dedicated mountain bike trails in Foxes Lair and Railway Dam Reserve.

Council did, however, support the recommendation for the design and construction of Challenge Park, next to the existing Skate Park in Gnarojin Park, comprising of a pump track, bike playground and beginner and intermediate jump lines.

Councillors said significant grant funds would need to be secured to undertake the work.

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