The sign forbidding four-wheel drive and motorbike access to the Mount Morgan dam.
The sign forbidding four-wheel drive and motorbike access to the Mount Morgan dam.

Drivers frustrated by Mount Morgan dam restrictions

MOTORING enthusiasts are disappointed in a Rockhampton Regional Council decision to block access to a popular part of the Mount Morgan Dam to make way for mountain-bikers.

The $600,000 Mount Morgan Walking and Bike Trail is being built at the No. 7 dam, and a sign was recently erected stating the area was off-limits to four-wheel drives and motorbikes.

Mount Morgan Outdoors shop owner Eric Stevenson said locals and tourists came to the area in four-wheel drives because it was a popular place to go off-road driving.

He said there had been “no consultation with anyone” about the decision.

“It’s a fair parcel of land and it’s the only place here that people can use for that service,” Mr Stevenson said.

“You see a lot of four-wheel drives with motorbikes on the track, and some of the four-wheel drive clubs use the area for driver training because it’s at varying difficulties and it’s close to Rockhampton.

“Now they’re locking it up for mountain bike use. It just seems unfair. There was no consultation.”

Mr Stevenson thought the restrictions may in fact result in people riding motorbikes closer to residential areas.

“If they’re not going to ride them there, there’s plenty of hills to ride in town they’ll ride them on,” he said.

“Where would they prefer them?”.

He said if the restrictions were about safety, then everybody, including pedestrians, should be restricted from going near the mountain bike trail, not just four-wheel drives and motorbikes.

“If you watch the videos of the mountain bikes going downhill, some of them are doing 60 to 70km an hour,” Mr Stevenson said.

“If they’re worried about people being injured they should be worried about the whole lot.

“If they had a public meeting [about] the purpose and uses that will be restricted, no one would have wanted it.”

Four-wheel drive club Fitzroy Fourbies president Mark Spencer called the rules “a bit of a shame” as the members of his club used the area to socialise and practise driving.

“Mount Morgan is a good little place to go for a drive,” he said.

“It’s only really a light to medium track – nothing extreme.

“We go up there and have a club day and go for a drive around the back of the dam, have a bit of a picnic.

“We usually have some new people come along and you can teach them a little bit of what to do in a four-wheel drive.”

Mr Spencer said nobody he knew was approached by the council about the change – for him to find out, it took one of his club’s members to be stopped by the new signs.

“We love to share everything, even with other clubs,” he said.

“We’re all for getting outdoors and enjoying the outdoors. It’s just we do it in four-wheel drives and we love going and exploring these places.

“We all give way to each other, and we’re only doing walking pace driving.”

The Morning Bulletin has contacted the Rockhampton Regional Council for comment.

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