DEVELOPING THE SPORT THROUGH LOCAL COMMUNITY RECREATION
Local Councils across NSW have embraced the concept of skateparks, and there a number of these spread across the Northern Beaches. However, these serve a user group that is relatively small in number, especially when compared to mountain bikers.
The concept of MTB pocket parks might be new to Sydney, but is well established elsewhere. What we’re talking about is small facilities comprising pump tracks (concrete or asphalt), jumps, and other skills features. These need to, within themselves, cater for a wide range of rider abilities (including advanced riders) to achieve the repeatability experience required to be successful.
TrailCare believes that MTB pocket parks should be constructed along similar lines to the skatepark model, with facilities spread across the area to allow kids (and other people without vehicular transport) convenient access.
At present, the Northern Beaches is host to a single pocket park: the Grove at Koobilya St in Seaforth. This facility was constructed, after a prolonged battle, to replace an informal facility at the same location which was bulldozed by Council without consultation. Unfortunately, the formal facility in no way met the needs of the previous community, and was constructed so poorly as to remain unridable for a number of years. However, in the past 12 months a group of committed volunteers had conducted repair work, and the facility has begun to flourish, with everything from local primary school kids to seasoned veterans. It is a shining example of how the riding community can take care of infrastructure to achieve excellent outcomes for all.
However, one small facility tucked away in Seaforth is far from enough. Riders successfully lobbied Warringah Council to commit to providing another facility following the destruction of the Freedom Jumps, but after several years there has been no substantive action (in spite of continued lobbying). This is disgraceful. Action is needed immediately from Northern Beaches Council to put in place a strategy for site selection and approval of pocket park facilities, so as to streamline the approval and construction process.