Updated: Nov 13
Further to the other draft strategy recently written about, Hornsby Council is also inviting feedback on the ‘Draft Biodiversity Conservation Strategy’ closing end of business in two days, Friday 13 November 2020.
If we don’t say our piece, we won’t be considered and there are many voices against Mountain Biking and its progress.
The 'Draft Biodiversity Conservation Strategy' concerns Mountain Biking - only making mention of it as an example of a threat/challenge to the conservation of biodiversity (on page 34) and in the website FAQs, describing it as a “destructive recreational habit” and claiming it is being done in endangered areas.
I was dismayed to read this and would encourage education from both sides about what is and isn’t occurring, as well as to ensure we all have a sustainable and cohesive future - if we ALL work together we can solve the issues both sides are having or are concerned about. There are misconceptions which are important to address!
In a nutshell, the various Issues being called out on both sides generally boil down to a lack of consideration from the other. The best way both can achieve mutually satisfactory outcomes for each issue, is to work together.
Here’s where we can start. For example, working together we can:
1. Educate about and protect endangered/ sensitive areas and where they are (e.g. Blue Gum High Forest).
It is everyone’s responsibility to value, protect and conserve our unique, sensitive flora, fauna and natural habitat - by enabling more people in our community to learn, know and take personal responsibility for the beautiful Bushland (we all share) and all its inhabitants, we can strengthen awareness and support for conservation through knowledge.
Note - Most participants of mountain biking are: responsible, and respectful of the environment, others and themselves; however, arguably the biggest threat is not specifically Mountain Biking activities, but general ignorance (not malice) about what to lookout for and areas identified as needing protection.
Most people in the general community probably don’t know this information! Lack of knowledge is not the same as reckless malice, so when the question is: “can a link be built through here” or action of ‘someone has taken it upon themselves to build some dirt jumps on Crown land in this spot’; please keep this fact in mind and give constructive feedback so issues can be understood and addressed - including educated on. It is important for everyone to do their part, done by actively facilitating part of the solution by sharing the information and knowledge with each other. Communication is key!
2. Include/Provide infrastructure for the MTB segment to accommodate the needs and wants of the segment. Benefits of this would: improve safety for the biodiverse sensitive areas and species, as well as trail users; reduce (ideally to eliminate) unapproved digging / building; and provide progress for the causes concerning: a) protecting natural biodiversity/the environment; AND b) provide progress options for mountain biking achieved through undertaking the due process and mindfully avoiding unapproved works and areas of sensitive species and habitats.
In the FAQs section on the website, The Biodiversity Conservation Strategy #5 is proposed to aim to “Connect People to Nature, through sport, recreation, education, bushwalking, volunteering activities, and health-related activities…Daily exposure to nature can be improved…by providing infrastructure to facilitate access such as walking tracks, picnic areas, and lookouts. These connections are fundamental to benefit people but also the environment. Improving people’s connection to nature may support longer term land management as people are motivated to care for and enhance their natural spaces…”
Mountain biking does fit and has great potential with ‘Strategy #5’; Mountain biking can be a part of the solution this Strategy is looking for, and vice versa. It would be of benefit for each, for mountain biking to be included in the infrastructure of this aim.
3. Bring to attention, discuss, understand and address concerns & ideas constructively, so that effective changes & solutions can be implemented.
This would be a constructive start, in order to achieve the right balance and a win-win future outcome. If you feel the same, please provide feedback - feel free to use what I have written as a template or your own examples. Deadline to provide feedback is close of business this Friday, 13 November 2020.
Send your submission to:
The General Manager
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Please mark your submission "Draft Biodiversity Conservation Strategy"
Or, submit via Online Feedback Form - https://future.hornsby.nsw.gov.au/draft-biodiversity-conservation-strategy-form/