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Mayor advises that they expect 45,000 mountain bike users in the first year at Mogo

Eurobodalla Council has engaged specialist mountain biking consultants to prepare a master plan for the Mogo Adventure Trails Hub. With little indication of humility the announcement comes with the statement "Council has the vision, ahead of many local government areas in NSW to recognise the economic, health and social values of trails to a community." While Council might feel it is "ahead of many local government areas in NSW" Simon Lauder of ABC South East pointed out to the Mayor on radio that Eurobodalla was well behind the existing mountain bike venues of the Snowy Mountains, Tathra and the Shoalhaven asking "are there enough mountain bike riders to go around?" Council however offer that in its first year of operating, the Mogo trails network has the potential to attract 45,000 visitors and will result in over $11.8 million to the local economy  creating ten full time jobs jobs during construction and another twenty full time jobs once operational  with the potential for at least six new business opportunities . Staff advise that cost estimates for the construction and maintenance of the track network will be developed once the proposed track locations are confirmed. Council staff are currently looking at potential opportunities and the development of an investment prospectus to support trail development, maintenance and broader value-added investment opportunities in the village of Mogo. In the meantime Council is looking to grant funding opportunities to support the construction of the track network, noting that the network can be staged and the Masterplan will make recommendations on staging. Investigations are also continuing in regard to the potential management options and structures and in regard to the funding of ongoing maintenance. This includes the potential for maintenance to be funded through sponsorship saying "This model has been used successfully at other locations. Given the potential national significance of the proposal, the likelihood of sponsorship funding or significantly supporting maintenance is high. As with other mountain bike track networks both in NSW and elsewhere, risk associated with use of the tracks will be managed through track design, construction and sign posting in accordance with the relevant standards." The draft Plan proposes infrastructure in the form of two trail heads for the Mogo Adventure Trails Hub. The primary trail head is proposed within Mogo’s village centre and will allow direct access to the trail network with a range of less formal entrances along the peripheries of the network. It is recommended that the trail head be supported with bike infrastructure such as bike stands, bike washes, trail maps, water refill station, car parking, change rooms and toilets. With the only toilet in Mogo located at the Tomakin Road intersection it appears that Council is considering this already below standard facility to serve as both toilet and change rooms. Council suggest the potential for the trails around Mogo will see them developed as a premier mountain biking trail network and event precinct. With predictions of 45,000 visitors per year (average of 900 every weekend) and national events Council will no doubt be considering improvements to their "EXISTING PUBLIC TOILET" to serve as an toilet and change room (male and female) for a world class venue.

Above: the toilet and change rooms for the new world class mountain bike venue proposed for Mogo Mogo toilet block identified as too far, substandard, unsafe and an embarrassment Council say "This connectivity between the trail network and Mogo village is sought after and will effectively utilise the existing services and amenity of the village. The integration of this project with the work on the Mogo Rebuild project will ensure that the village of Mogo can function as a center befitting its potential as a mountain biking destination." Of concern for many in the community is the fact that the focus of land for the project is land owned and managed by Forestry Corporation of New South Wales (FCNSW). The Mogo State forest is an operating forest and as such the network of roads and tracks in the forest have been built by forestry and are maintained only on an as needs basis. The proposed development would require Council and Forestry to enter an agreement that a bike network be established and preserved. This might impinge on future forestry extraction. Council is also NOT allowed to spend ANY of ratepayers money on non-Council owned assets such as maintenance of Forestry roads. In the Draft Trail Master plan the consultants also recognise that the proposed area within the Mogo State Forest is also used by walkers, trail runners, horse riders, and motorbikes and that trail use has increased noticeably in popularity in recent years. It is surprising then to learn that Council, undertaking their Community and Stakeholder Engagement in developing the draft Plan, DID NOT engage with walkers, trail runners, horse riders, and motorbike riders. The only suggestion of stakeholder engagement was a workshop at Moruya Golf Club on 18 February 2020 "attended by over 40 people from the mountain biking community, local business and key stakeholders." Council say that "this workshop followed on from previous consultation and workshop conducted by TRC Tourism in 2019,  several one-on-one meetings with key stakeholders (businesses, members of the local mountain bike club, event organisers and tourism operators)"  They also claim "engagement via social media through the mountain biking group, “Off Camber” Facebook page (that has just 300 followers) enabling a consistent dialogue around the project" adding "The feedback and insights of the local mountain biking community has been instrumental in formulating an understanding of the issues and opportunities of the project and testing ideas and concepts to ground truth the draft Plan." Without wanting to put a stick in Council's eye on the proposed project there are a few critical issues to consider: - Forestry might own the land however they will not construct the tracks nor maintain them. - Council are not able to expend ratepayer dollars on Forestry Land - Sponsors will be sought to contribute to the build and maintenance of tracks. NOTE: A sponsor would be difficult to find for tracks that are called PORNO HILL and I TUUCH MYSELF - Council would not be able to exclude other users such as registered motor bikes, walkers, runners or horse riders who are all legally allowed into Forestry land unless directed by Forestry during forestry extraction.

Above: Interesting trail names to encounter on a family outing along with Naughty Track and RU12? Draft Mogo Adventure Trails Hub Masterplan

Closing date for submissions: Thursday 15 October 2020, 4.30pm How to give your feedback

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