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Residents group’s protection call for Monument Hill Reserve

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Jordyn Grubisic
Jordyn Grubisic
Jordyn Grubisic is a senior journalist for the North Central Review primarily covering politics at all levels and sport with a particular interest in basketball. Since 2019 she has worked for several publications across Victoria including most recently at the Alexandra Standard and Yea Chronicle. She is always keen to hear from local community members about issues they face and has an interest in crime and court reporting.

Kilmore District Residents and Ratepayers Association, KADRRA, is calling for action to curb illegal bike riding and four-wheel driving that is causing extensive damage to Monument Hill Reserve.

KADRRA secretary Angela Turner said there had been a rapid increase in illegal bike tracks, constructed jumps, timber cut and removed, and timber piled into heaps at the Kilmore reserve.

“Damage and removal of signage indicating prohibited use has occurred to an alarming extent,” she said.

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“Several bike jumps are under construction and much of the natural habitat is damaged.”

Retired Department of Energy, Land, Water and Planning employee and qualified land assessor Norm Stimson said mountain bike tracks and jumps on Monument Hill, whether legal or unsanctioned, were contrary to the required protection and management.

“As well as general impacts and losses to biodiversity and environmental and other values, there are also numerous protected rare and threatened species in the reserve that may be impacted which must be protected,” he said.

“The current unsanctioned mountain bike tracks and jumps areas and/or any proposed future mountain bike facility effectively reduce the total area available for conservation in significant amounts…which is totally unacceptable.

“The current unsanctioned mountain bike tracks and jumps are also being developed without any assessment or planning oversight whatsoever. This is completely unacceptable.”

Ms Turner said KADDRA had asked council to increase maintenance and surveillance of the area ‘so damage and vandalism is kept to a minimum’.

“It is in everyone’s interest to keep this Crown land such that all the current environmental and heritage standards are maintained,” she said.

“As our population grows it becomes more obvious that other towns are not as blessed with such a wonderful protected public open space.”

Mitchell Shire Council acting chief executive Mary Agostino said council was aware there were issues with unauthorised and illegal activities related to BMX, mountain bike and four-wheel drive access in Monument Hill Reserve.

“Council have attempted to discourage these behaviours by removing jumps and revegetating areas, blocking tracks with bollards, and installing signs and surveillance cameras,” she said.

“The unauthorised construction of bike tracks and jumps in Monument Hill Reserve negatively impacts on ecological values by causing a loss of vegetation, soil erosion, habitat fragmentation and disruption to native wildlife.

“It also poses a significant risk to the riders using them, and the visitors walking through the reserve.

“An internal working group has been established to address this matter and the group is discussing the need to find an alternative location in the local area for BMX and mountain bike activities and a stronger enforcement approach.”

Council officers met with Taungurung Land and Waters Council to discuss future management of the reserve including addressing illegal use of the reserve.

Ms Agostino said there were no plans to formalise any BMX or mountain bike tracks in the reserve.

A feasibility study for a mountain bike track in the reserve has not been completed.

A shire-wide BMX and mountain bike strategy will be developed in the next 12 months with opportunity for community input and comment.

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  1. As a Kilmore resident, KADDRA doesn’t speak for me.

    Monument Hill is an under utilised area in Kilmore and these kids making jumps in a small out of the way area is a perfect example of the better utilisation of OUR Monument Hill.

    It would have been great to have Retiree Norm Stimson, Ms Turner and KADDRA trying to support these kids find a way to be able to utilise unused areas of the Monument for MTB instead of telling them off.

    Ms Turner claims of “Much of the natural habitat is damaged” is UNTRUE. The Monument is 76ha in size and these extensive damage areas are 100m in size.

    KADDRA would be better looking after;
    1.Measures to reduce Fire Load in the Monument.
    2.The dilapidated, eroded walking track.
    3.Urine smelling bluestone Monument.
    4.Maintenance of Monument Rd.
    5.Weed control.
    6.Continuing planting works of the Dam at the bottom of Monument Hill.
    7.Trimming of overgrown flora on eroded walking tracks.

    I’m sure KADDRA would agree that there is an abundance of under used area in the Monument.

    It would be great to see the community given an area by KADDRA that could be accessed by the Greater Kilmore area and beyond as a MTB area.

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