Ain’t no mountain near enough

Members of the public share their thoughts on the new developments. Video: Breanna Redhead.

The City of Melville is being praised by the mountain biking community of Perth for initiating a plan for a new mountain biking facility at Point Walter.

The 7500 sq m facility will be a part of the already existing community hub at Point Walter reserve, featuring tracks of varying difficulty for all abilities and ages, as well as an asphalt pump track.

The facility will be the first set of local trails for the Perth community, with most trails located further south in places including Collie and Dwellingup.

This map shows the future location of the facility. Image: Jack Stirling.

Currently, the closest available trails in metropolitan Perth are in Kalamunda, a 40-minute drive from the CBD.

Following three years of planning, the Melville council held a community event at the chosen site last Saturday, where residents could view the master plan and give their feedback before construction commences.

Common Grounds Trails is designing the plans, and landscape architect Matthew Andrew says all attendees welcomed the plans.

“We didn’t have anybody on the day who was against the facility,” he says.

“46 people came and filled in the questionnaire, about three quarters teenagers, and the rest primarily parents of teenagers, but also just adults from the area. We had our tentative master plan on show, which was basically the discussion piece.

“In general, everybody sort of had a consensus as to the kind of thing they wanted to see, which is basically something that’s inclusive, that’s got something for a broad range of ability, and age groups.”

Advocates have called for more official trails after several unsanctioned tracks were discovered in unoccupied bushlands.

Trail advocate and owner of Single Track Minds John Camey commends the city for identifying the issues and making a change, as other councils have not always been so forthcoming on the idea.

“That’s a great attitude the council has. Generally it will be the younger people who will go off and build their own tracks so it’s a fantastic way to legitimise it,” he says.

“I know in the past in Cambridge, kids would make the effort to go down to council meetings only to be shot down by a bunch of grey-haired old folks and then go back and build higher jumps and rebel them, so I think City of Melville is doing a really good job with it listening to their people.”

He believes the facility will encourage the community to get outdoors and exercise.

“Getting the community in nature is fantastic. I’ve been mountain biking for nearly 30 years and the best part is the views, Point Walter has got so much going for it because it’s  close to people, you’ve got million dollar views and yeah I think they’ve done a fantastic job choosing this area. I think it’s a great opportunity for a healthy, community space,” he says.

Westcycle board member Rob Annear says mountain biking is a fast-growing recreational sport, with more than 120,000 mountain bikes sold every year in WA and is glad the community is looking to cater to the ever-growing demand.

“It’s a very mature approach to say let’s find somewhere appropriate rather than just go away, because they won’t go away and then you end up with a worse problem of unplanned, unmanaged trails.”