The April 2013 Land Manager Updates on the Implementation of the Greater Hobart Mountain Bike Master Plan has been released on the Wellington Park Website (you may have to refresh the page for the updates to appear) and it is worth the read as some great works are happening, including the opening up of the joggers loop on the Domain and the Geilston Creek and Pilchers Hill track completion just to name a few.
There's also an interesting update on the need for a social values study being required before converting a number of tracks on Mt Wellington to multi-use. I've included the update in full below (click on Read More) because there's so much good stuff in there.
Hobart City Council (HCC)
- Knocklofty Reserve Summit Loop/Greencorp track (re-routes and upgrades) – this is currently underway and will be complete by July.
- lower Pipeline Track between Ferntree and Waterworks to be multi-use. Permit has now been received from Heritage Tasmania for new signage (to allow bike access). Signage will be installed prior to ANZAC Day to provide for bike use between Fern Tree and Gentle Annie Falls. A user survey will be conducted after 12 months to review bike usage and assess any impacts.
- Domain. The full Joggers Loop has now been opened to bikes.
- Huon Rd to Waterworks. Existing trail from near HCC depot on Huon Road that runs down to the Waterworks Reserve will be opened to bikes. The planning work will be complete this financial year with works to be undertaken next financial year.
- Chalet Downhill Track. Planning works for this track that is proposed to run from the Chalet to Junction Cabin is progressing. The community will be involved in the design of the track and key stakeholders have been invited to provide input, including a walk-through of the proposed trail corridor. The walk is to occur on Sunday 21st April. The design recommendations and costing will then be submitted to Council for approval.
- Tip Top / Slides. Substantial need for re-routing and rebuilding required in the lower sections, which will require a DA. The upper sections will be mostly upgrade works and easier to pursue in the short term. A walk through of the trail and issues has been conducted with the HCC and riders from the Hobart Trail Alliance (HTA). The required threatened species survey is currently underway. HCC is amending their current Bushcare policy to better accommodate volunteer involvement in the trail works with members of the HTA.
- An application is in process for undertaking works on Radfords Track to tighten up some sections to help passively manage straight-line speed on this multi-use trail.
As was reported previously the HCC submitted a works permit request to the Wellington Park Management Trust (WPMT) in the middle of 2012 for converting a number of tracks to multi-use in Wellington Park. These trails include: Lower Radfords (Radfords Track to Bracken Lane Fire Trail connection), Middle Track and the unnamed track that runs behind houses from Bracken Lane to Fern Tree Park. These were chosen as the first to request as they were seen as “easy win” projects unlikely to cause issues. HCC completed a risk assessment and design details for managing speed and multi-use on the trails that was included in the request.
The permits for works on all of these trails have since been rejected by the WPMT due to potential issues with “social values”. The WPMT has now stated they will need to conduct a social values study on all tracks prior to approving any shift to multi-use. No time-frame has been provided by the WPMT on when this study will commence or be completed.
The committee made note that the MTB Master Plan that included these trail details was widely supported through extensive public consultation via the master plan itself, as well as through the Wellington Park Management Plan review. The implementation committee raised concerns over the implications that even these “easy win” projects have been declined, as the trails are integral to the integrity of the trail networks designed within the MTB Master Plan. There were also concerns raised around the unknown time-frame of when the WPMT will complete a social values study, that will then at least allow consideration of the requests.
Kingborough Council (KC)
- Kingborough Mountain Bike Park. Stage 1 of the project is finished and includes Dirt Jumps and 3km of trails in 3 separate but connected loops. The Pump Track has also been completed meaning that all of stage 1 and some of stage 2 has been completed. A funding request has been submitted for next financial year to construct another 1.5km of trail but this has yet to be confirmed.
- Hobart to Dover Regional Trail. Work is continuing between HCC and KC to achieve shared trails between Mt Nelson and Kingston across the ridge line. There is also early work being done to try and get linkages through from Ridgeway to Mt Nelson and also from Ridgeway through to the Regional Trail (ridge trails). This project includes land owner negotiations to extend the trail between the Kingborough Sports Centre and Margate which will link to Margate Rivulet trails and Nierinna Creek/Kaoota Tramway. These negotiations continue.
Clarence City Council (CCC)
- Geilston Creek track and Pilchers Hill circuit track from De Bomfords Lane up to Pilchers Hill (beginners loop) are now complete.
- Seven Mile Beach track upgrade – the track has now been upgraded at the Seven Mile Beach end (Crown land), including new steps to improve the access point between the track and beach.
- Tangara Trail. Signage has been a priority with many new signs already in place. The priority for track upgrades will be the Everton track and Emu track. The Acton Court Hub has been established and will be officially opened on 20 April.
- Tangara Trail. Work on signage and the naming of tracks will continue. Plans to improve the track connections from the Acton Court Hub to existing trail network. Work will commence on fencing off wider sections of the track to ensure there is a sufficient gateway for signage.
- Clarence MTB Park – management and maintenance – see below notes regarding the Glenorchy MTB Park.
Glenorchy City Council (GCC)
- Glenorchy MTB park – Oceania Championships were recently held at the park. Some trail upgrading and maintenance occurred in the lead up to this event. Good feedback from participants and Cycling Australia was received. Additional maintenance and upgrading of the cross-country decent has also taken place straight after the Oceanias.
- Glenorchy Mountain Bike Park – management and maintenance. GCC is reviewing how the GMBP is currently managed and maintained. Some general discussion was had around the changes that have occurred since its inception – where it was original driven and managed by MTB users it has now grown to be accepted as a key public recreational asset of the council. As such its operation and maintenance should be better integrated within councils operations, which the committee broadly agreed with. Further discussion will be held with users and the management committee about how this might best be achieved. General agreement that regular audits, maintenance, and opportunities for community engagement/involvement will be critical to include. Clarence City Council also expressed similar views with regards to the Clarence Bike Park, and will also be included in the review.
- Trail 98 (alternative ‘blue square’ downhill track at the bike park) – All flora/fauna/heritage surveys completed with no issues. Whilst there is currently no budget to undertake the work, a planning permit will still be sought so that work utilising volunteers for the lower section can commence.
- Interest remains on pursuing the planning of an upgraded Big Bend – Knights Creek Trail route. GCC is currently in discussions with Southern Water and WMPT around some potential issues with current restricted zones.
Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS)
- PWS has been heavily engaged in fire operations over the past few months.
- Local PWS staff are preparing Management Strategies for two reserves (Sung Tiers Nature Recreation Area & Meehan Range Nature Recreation Area), to include consideration of the MTB Master Plan and MTB opportunities
- Update on PWS draft Mountain Bike Policy. A draft policy was prepared and circulated within PWS in 2012. This resulted in a number of additional changes and with limited resources the policy has not been able to be finalised. However, it is back on the priority list and expected to be completed later this year.
Wellington Park Management Trust (WPMT)
- Ongoing monitoring of shared use and walking tracks – Wellington Park Ranger indicated generally high compliance on mountain bike trail access, some issues on Lower Sawmill Track and on the link trail between Radfords Track to Bracken Lane.
- Wellington Park Management Plan is being finalised. There were 264 submissions, all of which have been reviewed. Most of the submissions are not MTB related although there is some relating to permitting additional trails in the restricted areas near the Glenorchy bike park.
- West Wellington Multi Day track – Consultants are currently being appointed to undertake the detailed feasibility study and market assessment. Confirmed that mountain bikers are recognised as a key market/user of the proposed trail.