Biking trail gets council green light
Shire of Denmark councillors voted unanimously on Tuesday night to approve the development of a controversial private mountain-bike trail through bushland in Shadforth.
The application was lodged in October by Denmark Mountain Bike Club after the Shire discovered earthworks had begun at the Lapko Road site without council approval.
The work was ordered to stop and the DMBC then submitted a proposal for a downhill trail to be used for fortnightly coaching sessions and occasional social ride days by club members only.
The Shire advertised the development in the local paper and consulted external agencies including the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and the Department of Water and Environment Regulation, which did not oppose the plan.
Because of an increasing number of questions from the public, a community meeting was held with the Shire, DMBC and nearby landowners.
The consultation period for submissions was also extended.
The submissions included concerns about the noise impact on animals in the nearby Landscape Protection Zone, disappointment with an “apparent lack of regard for due legal process and transparency to date”, and worries the development was “the beginning of a much larger enterprise”.
Town planners said the concerns could be addressed through planning conditions such as usage restrictions, bushfire mitigation, and dieback management provisions.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, DMBC members and a member of Albany Mountain Bike Club spoke in support of the project, promoting biking as a socially cohesive, fun, healthy and environmentally sustainable activity.
DMBC’s Eden Hughes was one of the young members present at the meeting.
Other nearby landowners, including Beverly Ford, who owns a property next to the development site, spoke against the proposal.
Ms Ford said she moved to the area for the peace and tranquillity and was concerned about the noise, as well as the enforcement of the approval conditions.
“These conditions are not enforceable — who will police them and what happens if we make a complaint?” she said.
Ms Ford was told that although enforcement could be difficult and largely reliant upon neighbouring properties, the Shire would issue fines if it found the applicant in breach of the conditions.
DMBC president Nathan Devenport said he was “over the moon” to resume the track development, which he estimated would be completed in the next six months.
“Denmark has a bright future in mountain biking, with this being a monumental step,” he said.
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