19 October 2022

Push the pedal on mountain biking's future, Stromlo plans: Greens

| Lottie Twyford
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Mountain biking at Stromlo

A Greens crossbencher has called on the government to get a move on with its election commitments to mountain biking in the Territory. Photo: File.

The government has been told to put the pedal to the metal and get moving on its mountain biking commitments made at the last election.

ACT Greens spokesperson for parks and conservation and active travel Jo Clay has also called for further community consultation on plans for Stromlo Forest Park and a single point of contact for mountain biking to be set up in government.

It follows a recent airing of community concerns about the proposed designs for a new car park.

Jo Clay

ACT Greens MLA Jo Clay said more can be done to promote active travel. Photo: Region.

Ms Clay said the sport is rapidly growing and needs more investment.

“Canberra could be Australia’s premier mountain biking destination,” she said.

“We have an excellent start with Stromlo, but we are falling behind other mountain biking locations. We need more investment to realise our potential.”

READ ALSO Stromlo Park users disappointed by carpark plans as fears of paid parking remain

At the 2020 election, $1.9 million was pledged towards various mountain biking-related initiatives.

One included an ACT Labor promise for a $1.2 million Stromlo to Cotter ‘flow’ style trail. At the time, Labor said this would create a link between the two popular recreation hubs.

“The 13 to 15-kilometre trail will pass through a nature reserve enabling riders to experience the unique landscape in the ACT and providing an opportunity for commercial cultural and heritage adventure tours,” the election costing commitment reads.

Earlier this month, Region asked Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel how far this commitment had progressed.

A government spokesperson noted the $1.2 million commitment to build the Stromlo Forest Park to Cotter mountain biking trail, adding that “work is underway to make this investment this term”.

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A further $700,000 had been promised in the election lead-up by the ACT Greens to deliver priority recommendations from the Canberra Mountain Biking Report, including investing in new and existing trails.

“Mountain bikers have told me it’s hard to talk to government about their sport because it falls under so many different ministers and portfolios. I’ve called for a single point of contact within the ACT for mountain biking to address this,” Ms Clay said.

“We also need to see more consultation with mountain bikers and regular Stromlo Forest Park users on improvements to the park. The people using this space have great ideas for the future and it’s important we hear from them directly.”

Yesterday, a petition was tabled in the Assembly calling on the government to reconsider its proposed design for the Stromlo car park.

Mountain bikers and other users of the park are concerned about the possible introduction of paid parking, although the government has yet to announce its official position on the matter.

Karl Brown, who lodged the now 692-signature-strong petition, said he would rather see the $3 million budgeted for the car park spent on upgrading the trails.

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During budget estimates this year, Ms Clay questioned why funding for this car park upgrade had rolled over from one budget to the next.

In response, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said delays were due to challenges in the infrastructure market.

He rejected any suggestion the government would not deliver on its election commitments to the flow trail, saying it was only halfway through the electoral term.

Ms Clay’s motion calls on the government to report back on its progress with its mountain biking commitments by midway through next year.

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Trevor Willis5:37 pm 20 Oct 22

A good start for safer bike riding would be to get rid of the ridiculous bike path presently causing problems at the front of the Woden Mall. It is useless and rarely used. A significant inconvenience and dangerous for riders, drivers and pedestrians

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