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Manly Dam - NEWS just in!!!!!!!!!!!

GiantNut's picture

By GiantNut - Posted on 15 February 2010

Dear Jeff,

After much researching and communicating, it looks as though we may have found a way to reverse this decision at the Council meeting on the 23rd of February in favour of all mountain bikers!

I ask you to remain patient until then.

Kind regards,

Cr Bob Giltinan J.P

T: 02 9938 6319
M: 0418-471-459
F: 02 9905 6169
E: [email protected]

BT's picture

I won't believe anything until I see the signs come down (officially that is)!

Fingers crossed though.

GiantNut's picture

Used my stufff and HAWKEYES great post and have been in dialogue with a few this morn including Mike Baird's office - which I got

Dear Jeff

Thank you for copying Mike in on your email to the Ministers. Mike completely agrees with your concerns and is working to get Council to reverse the ban.

Below is a link to Mike's media release for more details.
Thanks again for getting in touch - we will keep you updated on the outcome.

kind regards

Looking hopeful - we must keep polite and follow up with em

edmond's picture

Wow some great news.. perhaps logic will win!

Whisperer's picture

I also got the response from Cr Giltinan.
I also obtained his permission to post on NobMob.

Don't let this slow down your letters, calls, lobbying. Keep up the good work and show the council what a solid support base MTB riding has in the district!

Dear Steven,

After much researching and communicating, it looks as though we may have found a way to reverse this decision at the Council meeting on the 23rd of February in favour of all mountain bikers!

I ask you to remain patient until then.

Kind regards,

Cr Bob Giltinan J.P

T: 02 9938 6319
M: 0418-471-459

F: 02 9905 6169
E: [email protected]

Morgan's picture

My email:

An appeal to common sense.

I refer to the following:

(copy of Warringah Council Press release)

Manly Dam is the only (once) legal mountain biking ‘single track’ trail in urban Sydney, and has for years been promoted as such and maintained by the Council (and for some time also with the assistance of volunteers from the mountain bike community). The council is now saying that for safety reasons sections of the track are to be closed for the foreseeable future. I would like to make the following observations:

· Mountain biking, and cycling in general, is one of the fastest growing recreational activities in Australia. Some 1.2 million bikes were sold in 2008, more than cars sold for the 9th consecutive year. Yet it is still a marginalized past-time, due to a lack of dedicated facilities such as cycle paths or off-road (ie mountain bike), trails.

· As the 2.17km of trail to be closed has been built to not only handle but specifically to enable mountain bike traffic, the track itself, whilst providing skills challenges inherent in the sport, is safe.

· Safety concerns, I understand, arise from the possibility of cyclists and walkers colliding on these sections of track.

· Hundreds of responsible cyclists ride this track every weekend day, many times more than walkers, as it is the only trail purpose built for mountain biking within 20 kilometres of Sydney CBD. Mountain biking seems to be the only recreation where the majority must give way to the few.

· In order to complete a clockwise circumnavigation of Manly Dam (the most common direction) since the closure of the 2.17km of trails, riders have to leave the ‘unsafe’ tracks and suburban back-roads to cross the busy Wakehurst Parkway at Kirkwood Street, ride north along with traffic travelling at the posted speed limit of 80km / hr and above for about one and a half kilometers, and cross the oncoming traffic again to get back into Manly Dam and complete the ride.

· I am not an educated man but even I am able to comprehend that the worst case of a possible bicycle-pedestrian collision is far more preferable than an 80km/hr car–bicycle collision. And I have never heard of a pedestrian-bicycle collision on any parts of the track around the Dam

I am at a loss to understand Manly Council’s (my bad) decision and I urge each and every one of you to persuade Manly Council to reconsider this ill—judged edict to force cyclists from a perfectly safe off-road track and into the territory of speeding cars.



PS - Royalties. Anyone, royalties?

Whisperer's picture

Dear Steven,

Thanks for your email, which is now one of almost 100 received since Friday.

I support mountain bike riders and the reopening of the Manly Dam track. It was staff’s mistake that closed it, without consultation and without the mayor’s intervention. I sent the statement below to the media last night as a backgrounder to help clear up the chain of events that led to this ambushing of cyclists.


15 February 2010

Media statement:
Cr Virginia Laugesen

Council staff’s closure of the Manly Dam mountain bike circuit track

This is to make clear the connection between the Manly Dam circuit mountain bike track closure on 12 February and my Notice of Motion 12.7 of 13 October 2009. See: .
My intention with the Notice of Motion was to help mountain bike riders resume supplying volunteer labour to Warringah Council to repair and maintain bush mountain bike tracks. Regular volunteer maintenance days, carried out under council ranger supervision, ceased about two years ago when a particular ranger left the job.
My NoM was deferred to a briefing. During its preparation, council staff discovered a “technicality” in the 1998 Plan of Management that rules out use of the 1.2km section of track near Wakehurst Pwy (and two other sections of track) by cyclists.

Without consultation, the briefing’s topic changed direction from: how can we reinstate the volunteers? to: is mountain biking ‘legal’ at Manly Dam?
Next was to come a staff report of four options, including, I thought, councillors’ decision on a review of the POM and the next actions for the mountain bike circuit track. A consultant’s report commissioned in February 2008 now distributed to councillors was to provide input to the choice of options.
At the 9 February 2010 ordinary meeting, my original NoM was resubmitted. I spent the time since the briefing of the week before preparing an amendment (about volunteering) that I believed would be a compromise to suit bikers, environmentalists and council staff and would fit with any future POM review.

On the Sunday before the council meeting, I walked the now-closed section of 1.2km with fellow councillors Conny Harris and Christina Kirsch. It was clear that asking cyclists to patch up the top of the circuit track by riding on Wakehurst Parkway was out of the question. It was too dangerous to even walk along the side of that road and there’s no space to build a cycle way without destroying bushland. There was no signal then, that the track was about to be closed without discussion.
Thanks to the now-infamous ‘torture chamber’ meeting of 9 February, we didn’t reach my volunteer reinstatement item that night and it was delayed again, to the 23 February extraordinary meeting.
Late on Friday 12 February, councillors received a media release by email, announcing the immediate closure of the mountain bike circuit in three places. The elected council did not vote for this closure.
Mountain bike riders were also alerted through their networks and, rightly, went nuts. Councillors have been bombarded with emails all weekend. The objections make sound arguments about the 12-year precedent of permission to ride the track, the lack of recorded pedestrian collisions and the scarcity of similar high-standard tracks in Sydney, among other strong points against the decision.
My position is:
- the circuit track should be reopened immediately;
- the Plan of Management should be amended to include legal use of the circuit track with appropriate considerations, in the shortest possible time;
- any resulting two-way (non-circular) track alternative will cause destructive erosion;
- cyclists should be banned from all diagonal and internal bushwalking tracks;
- bushwalkers should be deterred from the circuit mountain bike track with appropriate warnings;
- there should be no new bush tracks built and no widening of existing tracks;
- volunteer maintenance and repair days should be reinstated, with additional controls.

Note: the result of cutting the top off the circuit track creates a “U”-shaped track, causing bikers to ride in both directions, increasing the risk of collision and erosion, as they share the narrow track that currently caters adequately to one-way traffic.

If not resolved before the next council meeting, I will move an urgency motion to this effect on 23 February.

I raised the matter of returning volunteer labour with the best intentions, as an environmental benefit, a cost saving to council and a community networking opportunity for like-minded, active people. The upsetting and unexpected outcome for Sydney's Mountain bike community could not have been predicted from this proposal and I am disappointed by the action taken by council staff.


Virginia Laugesen
Councillor for C Ward
9400 3299
0437 499 959

philberesford's picture

I also have received a similar worded email from Cr Giltinan

Fingers crossed.

Little-Ditty's picture

Nice email, Morgan. Smiling

rangie's picture

likewise received similar letter, however, I note that they are proposing banning mtb from all internal this likely to cause issue, set a precedant later ?

just a thought

we should all still go to the council meeting in numbers on the 23rd... jic. !

philberesford's picture

AFAIK we are banned from all the internal tracks already. So nothing new there.

Correct me if I'm wrong tho Smiling

hawkeye's picture

Banning us from the internal tracks per VL's proposal and confining us to the circuit track is how the 1998 PoM's goals of cyclist/walker separation were met. So it is a measure has already been in place for some time. Nothing new there.

BT's picture

"there should be no new bush tracks built and no widening of existing tracks;"

Is this a no no for the potential of any new tracks in the area? i.e the seperating of walkers and riders along the whole route (new single track beside the downhill firetrail to the creek for example).

I realise I'm getting ahead of things here but that could be a concern.

nrthrnben's picture

There is a few unnecessary comments in there.

Thats like saying, "there is to be no new walking tracks",walkers would be up in arms!

There is plenty of potential to complete the circuit at manly dam with new purpose built single trail.

That should be our overall aim,above all else.

hawkeye's picture

It;s not just walkers and bikers in the fray, it's greenies - ahem, environmentalists - too.

So new trails are a very sensitive subject, as is re-routing existing trails.

What the environmentalists and walkers don't get is that we want substantially the same thing. Unfortunately the north shore structures that were built at Red Hill and the rest of the trail damage done up there become front-of-mind when environmentalists think of mountain bikers, so that is a pretty high hurdle we have to get over. They don't understand the difference between freeride/downhill and cross country/trail riding, nor that Manly Dam is an XC/trail circuit and that north shore is not what we want.

So when they hear we want to built a bike only track, they think of those big ugly structures.

We have a lot of work to do to be able to get alongside these groups and work with them instead of butting heads.

Oh, BTW, I wouldn't get too excited about Bob Giltinan's "news" - believe it when you see it. There is a lot of politicking going on around this issue.

jdoh's picture

I emailed the entire list of councillors at 8:13pm, in half an hour I'd received four replies back. I believe they might all be painfully aware of the uproar this has caused, but that's no reason to stop emailing. Each of the councillors was quick to point out it wasn't a council vote that resulted in this closure, that it was the staff of the council, some openly questioned how this happened...

Of the responses so far: two openly state their support for the mountain bikers, one seeks to vote with the communities desires (keep emailing), and one said my point of view was valid, but I already knew that, and wished this be resolved in a positive manner.

The extraordinary meeting on the 23rd @ 6pm will not include a public forum, however the public may still attend the meeting. As a bonus we might see a councillor wearing a gag in protest.


nrthrnben's picture

Agree with your comments about big ugly structures but would like to add the following:

North shore has its place on all mtb trails if done right, just go NZ or Canada, if at the very least to simply lift the rider above sensitive foliage or cross a stream. This was how northshore was brought into fruition way back.

Just like walkers have boardwalks, steps and so on, we as mountain bikers need north shore for sustainability and sometimes we add it for fun, but it must always be appropriate to the type of land/trail/skill level and most of all, it must blend in to the terrain as best as possible, just as they do for walkers.

We should probably be carefully not discriminate between disciplines (as i have been guilty of in the past) as it dis-unifies us as and slowly but surely takes us further and further away from getting a northern beaches style stromlo

Re-educate using IMBA guidelines,its been done the world over, time and time again.

daveh's picture

What is the common consensus with regards to publicity for this? Are we prepared to see how it goes with the council or should we be trying to drum up as much publicity as possible? The reasons for publicity are obvious but I am wary of overly highlighting something that is possibly already being resolved and putting those that are currently on our side, off side. There are avenues to approach with regards to this, some of which might take it up, but these should be chosen carefully so as not to antagonise the wrong people. I fully agree that private emails to councillors, members of parliament, etc. should continue and the local paper is also an obvious choice but am interested in any further publicity (if it is available).

Thoughts on this?

beyondkiu's picture

Thank you for taking the time to write to council on this important issue.

I would just like to clarify that the decision to close the track was NOT made by the elected council but by council staff. We as councillors have not been allowed to have any say and, quite the opposite, myself and Virginia wanted to prevent the closure and leave the track accessible based on the 12 year precedent, whilst a new solution was found.

Virginia and myself have put forward a motion to reinstate the volunteers involved in track work under close supervision. Staff then suddenly realized that they had ignored the Plan of Management for 12 years and decided to close the track. I am opposed to the closure, but the decision did not come to a vote by the elected council.

Virginia and myself are trying to revert this asap, but we are handicapped because Cr Falinski put forward a motion to reduce our council meetings from fortnightly to monthly, which was unfortunately supported by the majority of councillors (see meeting minutes online at Warringah council's webpage for details on votes). This means that we have fewer opportunities where we as elected council can have some input into the strategic direction and can attempt to change decisions made by council staff.

The track will come back on the 23rd February to an extraordinary meeting. But staff do not allow us to have a public forum, which we normally have at council meetings, and which allows the public to address council. I am considering wearing a gag in protest.
You may still want to attend the meeting which will start at 6 pm.


0411 699 266

PS: Virginia and myself are trying to get the Ride2school program (see google) up in Warringah for a ride to school day on 17th March in order to encourage more kids and parents to cycle to school - your support would be appreciated!

Rob's picture

It won't hurt to get as many people along to the council meeting as possible. This will firstly ensure media coverage of out plight, and secondly, because of the media coverage make sure that council do actually vote in the correct manner. Ie. as they have been requested to by the general public - after all, this is a democracy Eye-wink

GiantNut's picture

Council backpedals on bush ban
newsEnvironment16 Feb 10 @ 04:49pm by Brenton Cherry

JUST four days after banning mountain bike riders from sections of Manly Dam, Warringah Council is poised to perform an astonishing backflip. Pending a review into the plan of management for Manly Dam, Mayor Michael Regan said he would seek support for an interim ban on bushwalking and reinstatement of bike riders at next Tuesday’s council meeting.

Rather than support the move, however, some sections of the mountain bike community have slammed it.

Robin Rainton, from Northern Beaches Mountain Biking, said his heart sank when he learnt of the mayor’s plan. ``In all the years of campaigning for fair access for bike riders our message has been, `the trail is there to share’,’’ he said.

``It would therefore be hypocritical of me to promote this motion.’’

Last Friday, Warringah Council announced a temporary ban on bike riding on three stretches of single track at Manly Dam, which affect a total of 2.17km. The council claimed it had become aware that parts of the shared track were not technically approved for bike riding, despite riders having shared it with bushwalkers, incident-free, for about 12 years.

The public backlash has been severe, with some riders choosing to ignore the bans. Warringah councillors say they have received more than 220 emails from furious riders, while Manly State Liberal MP Mike Baird said his office had been, ``flooded with calls’’.

Already a protest ride at Manly Dam has been organised for Saturday, March 6, with about 150 people signed up.

Cr Regan yesterday defended the decision of council staff to ban riders despite moving to have them reinstated.

``Technically staff made the right decision in terms of bikes never technically being allowed on that track, so the easiest thing for them to manage the risk was to ban riding,’’ he said.

``The problem with that is that it has been in use for many years and to date no major incidents have been reported.’’

Cr Regan said his plan was based on the fact that riders at Manly Dam were in the majority.

Meanwhile, questions have been raised about the wording of the current Plan of Management.

According to the plan, ``bicycles and mountain bikes are restricted to public roads, carparks, fire trails and other designated areas’’.

Mr Rainton said the council’s promotion of Manly Dam as a mountain biking facility should qualify it as ``designated’’.

``That being the case, riding is completely in keeping with the plan of management,’’ he said.

But a spokeswoman for Warringah Council said usage would not result in an area being ``designated’’.

``For an area to be designated, at least a council resolution would be required,’’ she said.

ADRIAN B's picture

just got to work to read the paper and almost fell over after reading the front page, so does this mean its been sorted or just a small part of the puzzle....nice work fella's

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