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VIDEOS | Council seeks compromise following public backlash over kids' bike jumps at Caringbah North

Sutherland Shire Council is looking for a compromise after a public backlash against moves to demolish unauthorised bike jumps at Caringbah North.

The council is due to debate the hot topic at its meeting on Monday night.

Young bike riders built the jumps on unused public land next to tennis courts in Fenton Avenue, and they cater for all levels by providing varying degrees of difficulty.

The jumps are popular with dozens of young people in surrounding streets, as well as some from further afield.

Bike jumps at Caringbah North. Video: The Leader

Some afternoons, when one of the local high schools gets out early, there can be up to 50 riders enjoying the jumps.

Residents protested after the council distributed a leaflet saying the jumps were to be demolished because they "were assessed and found to be causing an unacceptable impact on the environment and risk to public safety".

Local resident Ross Kenna said there were risks in all sorts of activities and he would much prefer his three children, who are 13, 11 and seven, to be out enjoying the jumps than sitting at home watching TV or on their iPads.

"It's not just the hundreds of hours they spend on their bikes, but the other times they are working on building the jumps," he said.

"They are quite ingenious in what they develop."

Mr Kenna said there was also a great social benefit.

"Many of these kids go to primary school together and then go off to different high schools," he said.

Bike jumps at Caringbah North. Video: The Leader

"Having something like this gives them a place where they can meet up with their mates regardless of which high school they attend."

A motion submitted by Cr Kent Johns for debate at Monday's council meeting states:

  • 1. Council acknowledges the current community concern in regard to Council's methods of dealing with adhoc active and bicycle recreation, such as bike jumps and the like in public places.
  • 2. Council supports active play including adhoc active and bicycle recreation, such as bike jumps and the like in public places.
  • 3. Council's Open Space and Play strategies, when developed, reflect the community's desire for the adequate provision for these types of play.
  • 4. A mechanism be developed as part of the Play Strategy's Action Plan, for stakeholder engagement prior to any modification or removal works of adhoc play structures.

Before the motion was flagged, the council provided the following statement to the Leader.

"Sutherland Shire Council acknowledges the challenge in finding the balance between the care for the environment, encouraging creative outdoor play and safety and we value all stakeholders.

"Council has worked over a number of years to engage young people and local bike enthusiasts in the development of a range of facilities catering for all ages and abilities.

"This collaborative approach has so far seen Council deliver facilities such as the Barden Ridge Pump Track - the largest of its kind in Australia - and the Waratah Park Mountain Bike Track, as well as ongoing community consultation in the design and development of the Mill Creek Mountain Bike Trail.

"In terms of the current situation, some ad hoc recreational play has resulted unsafe conditions in some locations, with deep holes dug close to playgrounds and adverse impacts on the environment, with trees being cut down. It is only the more significant unsafe situations that Council is remediating.

"Council has provided information to neighbouring homes in areas where remediation is due to take place and areas made safe.

"Sutherland Shire Council will continue to engage our community in providing safe, appropriate opportunities for local young people to enjoy our outdoor spaces, while respecting the rights of all local residents to enjoy our parks and reserves in the manner they were intended."

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