We have been notified that Wellington City Council (WCC) will be closing some unsanctioned and illegal trails. Does this mean the end for those trails? Maybe not. We're waiting for the press release from the WCC before we put out a more detailed response on a per track / area basis. We’ll keep you up to date.
It was great to see so many who are passionate about tracks and riding, willing to give up their Wednesday evening to come to our committee meeting last week.
From the Club’s point of view, we have been working with the Council on Te Ahumairangi (Tinakori) for a number of years. With the track closures we are going to ramp up these efforts. Just as with other trail areas (Mt Vic Trails, Miramar, Polhill etc.), there will be a new sub-group formed with a page on Facebook. Our point man on this is initiative is Jono Baddiley who has been involved in these discussions for a number of years.
WHAT'S THE CLUB'S ROLE IN ALL THIS?
Over the last few years, Welly MTB Club has being doing a lot to advocate for all riders in the Wellington area, not just gravity riders, not just beginner-intermediate riders either – but all riders. We are passionate about riding and building trails. We are also an open and accepting bunch, if you share a passion for riding, trails, and Wellington, then you will find a good fit with us.
- The Club respects, and works within the plans and policies of the various land managers we work with. Whether it be WCC, Porirua City Council, Upper Hutt City Council, or private land owners.
- With council lands, we accept that there are plans and policies that guide, and sometimes restrict our work. However, they are written in ink - not stone. So that means we can challenge them and advocate for them to be changed and updated.
- The Club has done significant work in the last 3 years working within these frameworks to both secure access and funding, and then open up areas for riding for both Club members and non-members alike. This requires research, time, relationship building, and patience.
We engage not only with Council, but also other interested parties to seek alignment, develop relationships and resolve any issues, whether they be perceived or real.
- We can point to the fantastic work done by the Brooklyn Trail Builders in the Polhill area, and Miramar Track Project. Both these groups have engaged with schools, local ecological groups and other trail users like running groups and this contributes to the overall success of these projects.
- We can also point to the work that has started and is ongoing on Mt Vic to engage with Rotary on their planting efforts and other stakeholders to reduce track user conflict.
With respect to these trail closures, in order to enact change, we do it by following the framework laid out by the land manager (WCC), and always aiming to strike a balance with the needs of Wellington’s mountain biking community.
All we ask in return, is that you respect our time as volunteers.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
If you want to discuss something with the Club, then please get it added to our committee meeting agenda. Committee meetings are the 2nd Wednesday of the month, at 7pm. The location changes from time to time. Please email email@example.com to add items to the agenda. Everyone passionate about riding, trails, and racing, who is prepared to engage and help out, is welcome at meetings.
If you are passionate about the areas that are getting closed, that’s great! Get involved. Here is what you can do:
- Passion is great, ranting is not. Engaging with land managers and other stakeholders is how we get the ball rolling.
- Get engaged with other stakeholders, try to understand their points of view, go to their planting days and community meetings.
- Join the sub-projects (look out to the Tinakori / Te Ahumairangi group coming soon).
- Join the Club. More numbers for us helps us when we are advocating on your behalf.
- Plans and Policies are just documents. You can lobby and campaign for them to be changed.
Above all, respect the Land Manager's process. If that means no digging and no riding in an area, then please respect this. Disrespecting the process makes it harder for those advocating on your behalf. The Club will assist in any way it can using our knowledge of the process and relationships with Council, but riding and building in these areas undercuts any effort to open them up to riding.
If you want to delve further into the various plans that WCC use to guide their management, then check out the following:
The Town Belt Management Plan
Updated in 2013, the club successfully lobbied for greater access and recognition of mountain biking.
The Open Spaces Access Plan
Updated in 2008, this plan is not currently scheduled for review or update.
The Track Recreation Activities Policy
The notable error in this document is Polhill Reserve, which is now open for riding and a good example of how things can change.
For more general information on Mountain Biking: