Shire of Esperance review public submissions on reserve

The Shire of Esperance have received more than 30 submissions after the Draft Dempster Head Management Plan was released for public comment in April. 

The Draft Plan was developed by South Coast Natural Resources Management to provide direction for the future use of the reserve, which has prohibited a number of activities since June 2017 due to damage of the area.

The draft report found the use of damaged areas would cause degradation of vegetation and that downhill riding was unlikely to be compatible with walkers on the trails. 

The reviewed plan was released by the Shire of Esperance for public comment which closed on Friday, April 27.

Esperance Mountain Bike Association member Robert Sudmeyer spoke out about an anti-biking tenor he believed existed within the plan.

“There have been bike tracks at Dempster Head for more than 30 years; the problem isn’t bike tracks, it’s unofficial bike tracks in the wrong places,” he said.

“Bike tracks shouldn’t be regarded as a problem but as an asset.”

Shire of Esperance acting chief executive officer Shane Burge said the 33 submissions received covered two main topics including mountain bike riding and the protection of the environment, which reflected the input received during the plan consultation.

“It is always a positive sign to have people keen to forward their thoughts and this ensures a plan that is fully supported by all users which is essential when considering this valuable reserve,” he said. 

“All feedback will be assessed and presented to Council for consideration.”

Mr Burge said Shire officers were expected to go through the submissions in conjunction with South Coast NRM.

“All comments provided are assessed and have the potential to lead changes or amendments within the Plan, a table outlining the submitted comments and their inclusion/non-inclusion and the reasons why is provided to Council along with an updated Management Plan,” he said.

“Once Council has had the opportunity to consider the submissions received and a determination is made on the draft plan then contact will be made with the Mountain Bike Association to discuss the way forward.”

The Management Plan is expected to return to Council at the next Ordinary Council Meeting in June.