Mountain bikers take control of Meelup trail

Taelor PeluseyBusselton Dunsborough Times
City of Busselton’s Kay Lehman, CMB member Cathy Murrell, the City’s Greg Simpson, trail builders Shane Williams and Ivan Svenson, CMB members Pete Battye, Roman Voch and Andrew Spencer-Wright proudly unlock the gate to begin work on the trail.
Camera IconCity of Busselton’s Kay Lehman, CMB member Cathy Murrell, the City’s Greg Simpson, trail builders Shane Williams and Ivan Svenson, CMB members Pete Battye, Roman Voch and Andrew Spencer-Wright proudly unlock the gate to begin work on the trail. Credit: Taelor Pelusey

Cape Mountain Bikers took possession of the keys to Meelup Regional Park last Monday, marking the start of construction on the region’s first formal mountain biking trail.

The handover formed part of the agreement between the City of Busselton and CMB, and allowed works on the informal 7km-long Brown Street trail to begin.

CMB president Andrew Spencer-Wright told the Times the trail was due for completion at the end of the month — weather permitting — and would be a collaborative effort between the contractors and volunteers.

“We wanted to get the community involved and hopefully it will engage people and give them a sense of ownership,” he said.

After almost a decade of the CMB attempting to establish a trail network in the park, Busselton councillors gave them the green light late last year.

CMB is now drawing on the $100,000 Lotterywest grant secured about five years ago to fund the works.

City of Busselton environmental planning co-ordinator Greg Simpson said the sport was growing in popularity and expected the new trail would draw enthusiasts “from near and far”.

“It’s great to see the work of the key stakeholders, including the Meelup Regional Park Committee and the Capes Mountain Bikers, under way,” he said.

CMB previously told the Times most trails in WA started illegally and were later legitimised. However, the club opted for the formal route, ultimately stretching the process out to about nine years.

CMB member Roman Voch said the club hoped the process would now be streamlined for future trails.

Previous steps to grow the sport in the region include last year’s signing of a “Trail Adoption Agreement” between CMB and Department of Parks and Wildlife at Whicher Range, where trails had been informally developed, and the South West Mountain Bike Master Plan, which outlines plans for almost 500km of trails across the South West.

Vasse MLA and shadow tourism minister Libby Mettam said the start of construction was a big step to expanding the sport throughout the South West.

“I understand from Andrew that mountain bike enthusiasts look to holiday where there are a range of trails, which provide different terrain and we have the perfect region, and State, to provide that experience,” she said.

“We still have a long way to go, however, particularly in regard to streamlining the process to open up these trails.”

The Times understands future construction could lead to Meelup’s mountain biking trail network spanning 15km-20km.

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