‘Urgent’ trails needed

By Michael Roberts | posted on November 21, 2020

LOCAL councils are moving ahead with plans to develop a series of mountain bike trails in the Great Southern but still need to overcome a number of road bumps to get respective projects up and running.

Participation in the adventure sport is rapidly increasing in Western Australia, according to the Great Southern Centre for Outdoor Recreation Excellence (GSCORE), which identified there was “an urgent need” to address a shortage of mountain bike trails in the region.

Albany Mountain Bike Club President Dora Adeline said a talented group of young riders were being held back by a lack of local tracks.

“I can only but imagine how far some of these young people could go if they had some more local trails to hone their craft on,” she said.

Behind the scenes, work is underway to get three mountain bike projects off the ground in Albany, Denmark and Mount Barker.

GSCORE’s Regional Trails Masterplan, which was released in September, identified trail experiences at Albany Heritage Park, Tower Hill and Mt Hallowell as priority developments.

GSCORE Executive Director Dr Lenore Lyons said plans were moving along, but progress was slow and steady.

“There’s no point rushing these things. I know that does disappoint some sectors of the community who want to see mountain bike trails tomorrow, but in the end, I think we will get a good outcome for the region,” she said.

City of Albany Infrastructure, Development and Environment Executive Director Paul Camins said constructing a network of trails at Albany Heritage Park had been a “key priority” since a concept plan was developed in 2016.

Shire of Plantagenet President Chris Pavlovich said his Council had resolved, in principle, to fund 50 per cent of the Tower Hill trail project once the remainder was secured.

“We think it’s important to not just have Mt Barker, Denmark or Albany, but combining the three to be a trail hub that’s got enough variety to cater for national and state events,” he said.