Why was Knapsack Reserve chosen as the site for the proposed Cross Country and Downhill Bike Tracks?
In response to the identified need to provide an authorized avenue for the growing sport of Mountain Biking identified in the Nature based Recreation Strategy 2005-2011 , Council undertook a preliminary assessment of its reserve system for suitable sites for downhill biking based on the:
requirements of the sport
top to bottom tenure control
impacts on residents and neighbours
Knapsack Reserve was identified as the most suitable site on the basis of these preliminary assessment guidelines.
Further assessment of the use of Knapsack Reserve for Downhill and Cross Country Bike Riding occurred during the development of the Knapsack Reserve Plan of Management (adopted 28 August 2007). The Knapsack Reserve Plan of Management allows for the construction of one downhill bike track subject to land survey, soil stability assessment and further investigation of potential impacts.
Following the Council's decision to close all the existing unauthorized tracks on the eastern escarpment on the grounds of issues such as conflicts between residents and track users, lack of top to bottom tenure control and impacts on endangered ecological communities Council resolved to investigate the feasibility of constructing an authorized downhill track in Knapsack Park.
Why has a Review of Environmental Factors (REF) for the proposed Cross Country and Downhill Bike Tracks, Knapsack Reserve been undertaken?
Under the SEPP (Infrastructure) 2007 provisions a Development Application is not required for the development of the proposed Cross Country and Downhill Bike Tracks in Knapsack Reserve. However assessment and approval is required under Part 5 of the Environment Planning and Assessment Act 1979, which requires the assessment of environmental impacts such as through a Review of Environment Factors (REF), including an assessment of whether the activity will have a significant impact on threatened species and endangered ecological communities.
What is the scope of the REF?
The REF for the proposed Cross Country and Downhill Bike Tracks, Knapsack Reserve has been prepared in order to consider the potential impacts on the natural environment resulting from the proposed construction and operation of the tracks. An REF is a standardized environmental assessment instrument and considers a range of environmental impacts.
Based on the findings of the REF, the assessment of public submissions about the REF and feedback arising the public consultation process, a report with recommendations will be made to Council as to whether the project should proceed to a more detailed assessment and design phase for the track construction. Additional resources for the assessment of the potential impacts on Aboriginal and European Heritage will be allocated at that time.
In the design of the track what construction standards/guidelines are proposed to be used?
The proposed tracks will be designed to comply with the guidelines and principals outlined in the International Mountain Bike Associations handbooks on trail design and instruction including the
Trail Solutions: IMBA's Guide to Building Sweet Singletrack
Managing Mountain Biking: IMBA's Guide to Providing Sweet Riding
as well as the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage ‘NPWS Sustainable Mountains Biking Strategy’ guidelines