Manning Park Trails - The Facts

No decisions on the future of Manning Park Trails have been made.

The development of formal trails at Manning Park is currently being considered, the community is engaged in this process, and no decisions have been made.

  • There has been no pre-determination to commit to building trails, or prioritise mountain bike access, by either staff or Council
  • The City has been undertaking a process for the planning and future strategy for Manning Park since 2013. The current process being undertaken is consistent with the Council resolutions to date
  • Council will make a final determination when all materials are presented for consideration.

Background

The current process (the formation of a working group to review the issues, opportunities and solutions associated with a trail network in Manning Park) is the continuation of a process that started in 2018 when Council, after extensive community consultation, adopted at the September 2018 Ordinary Council Meeting September 2018 Ordinary Council Minutes opens in a new window, the Manning Park Master Plan 2018-2028 opens in a new window.  

The trails in Manning Park already exist. The City (consistent with the Council approval) is reviewing the proposal to close some trails down to rehabilitate them while potentially (subject to further engagement and Council approval) making a more sustainable network for trail users.

Manning Park is popular with bike riders, walkers, and runners and there are existing conflicts between groups. The aim is to reduce conflict by providing a sustainable network of trails with adequate signage. The timeline, starting in 2013, of how we have reached this stage is detailed below.

Community consultation

One of the actions identified in the Manning Park Master Plan was the development of a mountain bike concept plan. This concept was released for public consultation in 2020.

While over 60 per cent of respondents said they felt the draft plan was good or very good or were happy with it to some degree, several key issues were identified, including:

  • How to enhance environmental outcomes and protect important areas within the park.
  • How to integrate the needs of other user groups
  • How to achieve an appropriate scope and scale of trails.

Given these issues, the City chose to undertake further community consultation and a Manning Park Trails community engagement group has been formed.

Community Engagement Group - role

The City advertised widely for expressions of interest from those wishing to be a Manning Park Trails community engagement group member. The City received 54 expressions of interest.

  • The role of the group is to work collaboratively alongside the independent facilitator to review the issues, opportunities and solutions associated with the future of Manning Park, including potential consideration of the trail network in Manning Park.  
  • While not a decision-making body, the group will provide important insight that will help to advise Council in relation to the potential for any future trail development.
  • The focus of the group is not to undertake detailed work, assessments, or environmental compliance.

Community Engagement Group – selection process

  • An independent facilitator assessed the Expressions of Interest (EOI) against the advertised criteria.
  • Given the location of the trails, the selection criteria gave greater weighting to Cockburn residents. 
  • The selection process endeavoured to ensure fair representation of user groups and residents, with strong representation across the user groups. View a copy of the Terms of Reference opens in a new window. These will be reviewed at the first engagement group meeting.
  • The City indicated that there may be two positions available for certain groups, but this was always subject to the applications received. 
  • A decision was made to increase the working group numbers from 16 to 18 based on the interest from additional resident associations and the Aboriginal community.
  • We understand that some people are disappointed at not having been appointed to the working group however the intention has been to provide broad representation from across the local community with people who offer a variety of skills and knowledge that will add value to the working group. A summary of those skills is provided in the table below.

Groups Represented as per EOI’s

Number of Representatives

Skills and Knowledge of group members

Resident

6

Bushland, conservation and environmental management, ecology, community involvement, sustainable land use, environmental approvals processes.

Bush forever knowledge, ecosystem function, wildlife biology, environmental law, planning, landscape architecture, governance, organised sports Involvement, Creative Design, Events Co-ordination, Environmental Practitioner, Engineering (Civil & Mining), Outdoor Education, Community Liaison, Aboriginal Heritage, European Heritage, Coaching, Teaching, Track Design, Volunteering, Hiking, Orienteering.

Two members on the group are also members of the Beeliar Group – Professors for Environmental Responsibility and one member also sits on the Beeliar Regional Advisory Committee
 

Manning Park Trail Runners

2

Coogee Beach Progress Association

1

Friends of Manning Ridge

1

Cockburn Community Wildlife Corridor

1

Spearwood Residents Association

1

Hamilton Hill Community Group

1

Mountain Bike
(Manning Mud Rollers)

1

Orienteering

1

Aboriginal Reference Group Nominees

3

Total

18

Environmental considerations

The City’s staff are fully aware of the environmental significance and obligations pertaining to the site and will take these fully into account when presenting matters for Council consideration.

Our focus at this point is to work out if there is a community desire, need and ability to inform the ultimate vision and strategy for the precinct.

City staff with tertiary qualifications in Environmental Management and Botany and experienced recreational professionals will also attend the group meetings. They will not have any involvement in discussions but will be on hand to answer any technical questions that arise.

The City has arranged for a representative from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions with experience in trail development to also attend. Again they will not have any involvement in discussions but will be on hand to answer any technical questions that arise.

The Community Engagement Group meetings will include access to information on fauna and flora surveys including vegetation complex and condition mapping.

The process will be finalised once the matter is considered by Council which will take on board all relevant information before making a determination.

Independent facilitator

The City engaged Dave Lanfear Consulting to facilitate the working group process. Mr Lanfear has over 30 years of experience across a range of industry sectors, including community and stakeholder engagement in the development of strategic plans, community infrastructure plans, master plans, needs and feasibility studies and facility/program reviews.

There have been accusations that because Mr Lanfear has a background in sport and recreation that he will be biased towards mountain bike trails. This is not the case. Mr Lanfear’s background is primarily as a land use planner who specialises in stakeholder engagement. His reputation is for developing and implementing impartial processes.

Manning Park trails concept history

  • 2013: the City developed the Trails Master Plan 2013 opens in a new window. This Plan was an update of the 1999 Plan prepared by Maher Brampton and Associates.
  • The Plan identifies that further improvements to the trails network of the City could be undertaken and on page 41 suggested the City should begin to consider the establishment of mountain bike trails.
  • 2015: the City started to look at the feasibility of a formalised mountain bike trail network in the upland area of Manning Park. The Beeliar Regional Park Management Plan opens in a new window identifies the upland area as suitable for cycle trails and identifies the area's purpose as recreation.
  • The City sought input from the community as part of this process including letters to nearby residents, signage and newsletters.
  • This process was paused in anticipation of the State Government developing a Master Plan for mountain biking in Perth and Peel and the City’s own Master Plan for Manning Park.
  • 2017: The Perth and Peel Mountain Bike Master Plan opens in a new window was developed by WestCycle, with support from the State Government, Lotterywest and the West Australian Mountain Bike Association.
    • Manning Park is identified in this Plan as a mountain biking destination. The Plan was launched in July 2017 by Environment Minister Stephen Dawson and Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray.
  • 2018: The City adopted the Manning Park Master Plan opens in a new window which recommended the formalisation of mountain bike trails.
    • The City sought input from the community and key stakeholders as part of the process of developing the Master Plan including on-site visits daily at different times for a week, interviews, surveys, letters to nearby residents and pop-ups. Local traditional owners were also consulted in relation to the plan.
  • 2020: The City resumed the 2015 project in the form of a concept plan for mountain bike trails and presented the draft design to the public for comment throughout June/July 2020.
    • The public comment period was advertised in a variety of ways including Cockburn Gazette Ads, media releases, social media posts, letters to nearby properties, signage throughout Manning Park, e-newsletters, website updates and more. The initial comment period was extended by three weeks and 2000 letters were delivered to local residents informing them of the extension. Local traditional owners were also consulted in relation to the concept plan.
      • 2021: Given the concerns that were identified through the consultation the City has determined to seek additional input, the City has now formed a working group.

Further details about the process can be found on the City’s Comment on Cockburn website. opens in a new window

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