Volunteers who have put hours into the construction of Ashburton’s own mountain bike skills park have a clear message for anybody making changes to the area, work with us, not against us.
Members of the Mid Canterbury Mountain Bike have been left to clean up the skills park which is located off Dobson Street after people attempted to change the layout of elements of the park and removed native plants that had been planted in the area by the club.
“We have had a few incidents in the area which are probably vandalism,” committee member Mike Kettley said.
“It gets a bit frustrating as it is there for the general public to use, but if people want to change things, come along to a working bee or one of our planting days.”
In the past few years the skills park has taken off, with more than $100,000 of community grants going towards its development, and a huge number of volunteer hours from club members.
“There has also been more than 2500 natives planted,” he said.
“All the tracks have been built by members and done through grants from things like trail funds and the Lions and fundraising from club members.”
A big issue they faced was that the general public perception of the park was that it was on Council owned land, and not run by a club made up of volunteers.
Kettley said everybody is welcome and encouraged to use the park, but to leave it as they find it.
“It can be quite unsafe (people making modifications to the park), as it disrupts the runs that have been designed and can be quite dangerous,” he said.
“It is here for people to enjoy, and we would rather people speak to the club if they think something should be changed or join in and help out in working bees.”
Kettley said there had been some incidents of note where people had damaged trails by riding motorbikes in the park, or had ripped out natives that had been planted.
The club does have security cameras operating at the site and are aware of some of those responsible for damage in the past, and while it is not their preferred option, taking the issue up with the Police is available to them.
The club has also put a large amount of work in to developing the track north of the Ashburton River Bridge but is also experiencing issues with people not following the rules in this area, using motorbikes and even riding horses along the track.
There have also been instances of people walking on bike-exclusive tracks, and Kettley said while it is important bikers and cyclists respect each other on shared tracks, it was important people respected bike-only tracks.
– By Jaime Pitt-MacKay