Wetlands bike barney

IT’S bikes versus banksias at Lightning Park, with locals concerned a proposed BMX and mountain bike track could impact the sensitive bush and wetlands at Lightning Swamp.

Local bike enthusiast Rob Evans has been working on plans for the track at the north of the reserve for about two years and wants Bayswater council to help build and fund it.

But Friends of Lightning Swamp Bushland are dead against the plan, worried that having bike tracks through there, “could result in introduced diseases with potential to infect the unaffected banksia woodlands”.

• Bikers want access to Lightning Swamp, but the friends group says they’ll do too much damage.

FOLSB president John Williams says a buffer zone is needed to protect the sensitive bushland, because mountain bike tyres can carry dieback from other trails and “the activity would likely pose a major threat to the future health of the woodlands and result in deterioration to the only intact example of banksia woodlands remaining in the City of Bayswater.”

FOLSB also wants to use the land, earmarked for the bike track, for an environmental education centre.

There’s a small BMX jump circuit at Lightning Park but it’s not a closed loop, and is hardly used and overgrown with weeds.

Bayswater council staff have recommended the city doesn’t fork out the estimated $627,000 it could cost to build the track, and instead write a letter of support if Mr Evans wants to make a third-party grant application.

Mr Evans says the track could be built for a lot less and that he is happy to chat to FOLSB about a buffer zone.

by DAVID BELL

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