City con­sid­ers man­age­ment plan for hills

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

■ Con­cerns have been raised about user safety and degra­da­tion of Abo­rig­i­nal cul­tural sites in the Kar­ratha Hills by var­i­ous stake­hold­ers.

The hills are cur­rently cat­e­gorised as un­al­lo­cated crown land, mean­ing the City of Kar­ratha and other stake­hold­ers are re­stricted in their abil­ity to man­age ac­tiv­i­ties, lead­ing to degra­da­tion of the area.

The City of Kar­ratha is now in­ves­ti­gat­ing new man­age­ment op­tions to bet­ter con­trol is­sues such as un­co­or­di­nated trail de­vel­op­ment, spread of weeds and in­ap­pro­pri­ate use by ve­hi­cles.

Bur­rup Moun­tain Bike Club pres­i­dent Damien Muller said there were sev­eral in­stances when four­wheel-drives and trail bikes had dam­aged their struc­tures.

“We have had four-wheel-drives us­ing some of our struc­tures as flex ramps, re­sult­ing in dam­age to the ramp,” he said.

“The worst part about that is there are po­ten­tially peo­ple rid­ing the tracks who won’t see the dam­age un­til it’s too late, which could re­sult in an ac­ci­dent. We see them chew­ing up jumps and berms, as well as cross­coun­try four-wheel-driv­ing, which kills off spinifex and en­cour­ages oth­ers to do the same thing.”

Mr Muller said all users, moun­tain bik­ers in­cluded, needed to be mind­ful that many peo­ple used the hills for var­i­ous recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties.

He said there was po­ten­tial for all trail users to get along and use the area with­out is­sues.

City of Kar­ratha Mayor Pe­ter Long said the es­tab­lish­ment of a man­age­ment frame­work would re­sult in the hills be­ing bet­ter man­aged.

“The Kar­ratha Hills are widely used by our com­mu­nity and vis­i­tors; how­ever, de­spite the sig­nif­i­cant recre­ational and her­itage val­ues as­so­ci­ated with the area, there is no for­mal man­age­ment plan­ning in place,” he said.

“The man­age­ment plan­ning process will en­able dis­cus­sions around shared man­age­ment op­tions with the Ngar­luma Abo­rig­i­nal Cor­po­ra­tion with a view of mov­ing to­wards the de­vel­op­ment of a clear frame­work to al­low the on­go­ing pro­tec­tion and man­age­ment of this unique area.

“While we recog­nise the need to sup­port the growth of recre­ational pur­suits in this area, it is ab­so­lutely crit­i­cal that we re­spect and pro­tect the rich cul­tural and en­vi­ron­men­tal sig­nif­i­cance it has to of­fer.”

Ngar­luma Abo­rig­i­nal Cor­po­ra­tion failed to re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

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