Bik­ers vow to fight on

Auckland City Harbour News - - Sport - By Janie Smith

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.

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