Bikers vow to fight on
Mountain bikers say the threat of trespass notices won’t stop them using and building unauthorised trails at Western Springs.
The Auckland City Council is treating the trail as an illegal structure and says it is built in an area of ecological significance, where consent is needed to clear plants.
But Underground Trailblazers spokesman Peter Stoneham says the council doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on.
“It’s possible we’ll call their bluff by keeping building the trails. These are kids mostly building trails because they are desperate for facilities.”
The council’s arts and recreation committee was advised on May 14 that trespass notices were the most effective way to handle the situation.
Councillor Graeme Easte, who attended the meeting, said the ecological significance of the area did not relate to the species growing in the area, but its location.
“The area has the potential to form part of a green corridor.”
He said pines in the park’s shelter belt are starting to collapse, a safety issue for people illegally building the track.
But Mr Stoneham says there are still walking tracks through the area, despite the falling trees, and groups are allowed in for orienteering.
“It’s a double standard. They have one rule for walkers and another for bikers. The walking trail was put in ad hock, it wasn’t planned.”
He says the group started building the mountain bike trail in November 2006 and told the council what they were doing at the time.
“I went through the years of diplomacy trying to get trails. The Underground Trailblazers have progressed the cause 10-fold.”
Last year, the council selected Arch Hill Scenic Reserve as the site of a new mountain bike trail to be built in 2008 and 2009.
The committee resolved to encourage the council to work with community to increase the number of trails in Auckland and to find a workable solution for Western Springs.