Save Westleigh Park is an alliance of local community advocacy groups who want a fair and balanced outcome for Westleigh Park, the ecologically sensitive bushland, and for the amenity of local residents.
Hornsby Shire Council purchased a block of land from Sydney Water in June 2016 to cater for the needs of the whole community. Very quickly their staff realised that there was a high diversity of species present (244) in the bushland part of the Westleigh site including five vegetation communities, two threatened ecological communities, 4 species of threatened flora, 11 species of native orchids and 50 species of birds observed on the site. Their internal reports detailed the conservation significance of the flora and fauna.
Most of the community had obeyed the Sydney Water signs and fencing excluding them from the area. But mountain bikers were not deterred and by 2017 had built 5km network of trails.
In July 2020 external Ecological Consultants noted the major impacts on vegetation from 9 km of mountain bike trails throughout the forest impacting on threatened species, EEC’s, and the adjoining Biobanking sites. They advised council that the existing trail network had been constructed without environment assessment and without collaboration with landowners. No education program had been provided to mountain bike community regarding the impact of their activities on ecological values (and human health through asbestos movement) The length, width and construction activity of trails had noticeably increased since acquisition of the land by Council. As a result, soil erosion, soil and seed translocation and vegetation damage had also noticeably increased. These key issues threaten the integrity of the native vegetation to a point that some areas were at risk of approaching an ecological threshold.
Hornsby Shire Council is proposing a synthetic sports field at Westleigh Park. Save Westleigh Park does not support the use of synthetic turf in an environmentally sensitive area. Furthermore, the playing fields must be able to be used by as wide a range of people and sports as possible.