Trails to progress one step at a time
5 May 2017
Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington says there are still a number of stages to go – including more consultation and seeking funding – before the City can progress a concept plan for trails in Albany Heritage Park.
During 2013 to 2015, the City worked with the community to develop the City of Albany Trails Hub Strategy 2015-2025.
“This Strategy identified an opportunity to capitalise on Albany’s enormous potential as a trails destination by consolidating and upgrading existing trails, and developing new trails with the vision for Albany to become one of Australia’s best trails destinations,” Mayor Wellington said.
The Trails Hub Strategy includes walking, equestrian, aquatic and mountain bike trails as well as heritage and interpretive trails.
“As part of the development of the Trails Hub Strategy, an audit of trails was undertaken that showed the City manages a network of 147km of walk trails and 0.7km of purpose-built Mountain Bike trails,” the Mayor said.
“This identified a need for the City to develop more mountain bike trails for this rapidly increasing user group.”
Through extensive consultation with the community the City has developed the Albany Heritage Park Recreational Trails Concept Plan, which was endorsed by Council in December 2016.
The consultation undertaken for the Concept Plan is in addition to the consultation undertaken over 18 months for the development of the Trails Hub Strategy and included but was not limited to:
• Input from Key Stakeholder Groups including – Noongar Community, Bushwalking groups, Mountain Bike Club, State Government Agencies (DPaW, DSR etc.), internal stakeholders;
• Three Community Forums (2016 – February, August, September);
• Numerous 1-1 meetings with interested parties;
• Community Survey;
• Project Officer presenting at numerous community group meetings;
• Community Comment Survey – Online; and
• Community Comment Period – written submissions.
“Based on this consultation, the Concept Plan proposes to provide trail access for a range of different user groups, improve protection of environmental values, and improve visitor safety by reducing interaction between walkers and bike riders,” the Mayor said.
Council endorsed the Concept Plan in December last year subject to:
1. Acknowledging the community submissions and working closely with the respondents during the detailed design phase;
(Whilst this is ongoing the need for further consultation will be triggered as and when new information from the relevant heritage and flora and fauna surveys are known.)
2. Consideration of the recommendations of the Albany Natural Reserves Strategy during the detailed design phase for each trail;
(The Albany Natural Reserves Strategy was adopted by Council in March and is supportive of a well-designed and constructed recreational trails network in Albany Heritage Park to assist in protecting the environmental values while allowing access to a range of user groups including mountain bike riders.)
3. Consideration of the recommendations of the Albany Heritage Park Heritage Survey during the detailed design phase for each trail.
(The heritage survey is currently being undertaken.)
“No trail construction will take place until the details of the relevant surveys are fully considered and their impact on the final design known,” the Mayor said.
“Whilst the City has costed the adopted Trails Concept Plan ($3.2 million), it was not successful in attracting State Government funding in the lead up to the last State Election.
“On this basis the City will need to leverage funding from funding bodies and stage the construction of trails to meet the available funds allocated from within Council’s 10-year financial plan.
“Council remains committed to the Concept Plan and working with community to undertake the steps necessary to progress strategic and environmentally-sensitive trails planning and development so that all users – walkers, runners and riders – can enjoy our unique natural environment.”