The council behind a booming world-class mountain bike destination in Tasmania’s north-east is flabbergasted Mineral Resources Tasmania has blocked a transfer of land marked to expand the bike trails.
The Dorset Council is currently expanding the Blue Derby mountain bike trail network by developing a new family-friendly Lake Derby track around the old Briseis mine hole, which has been a lake since the open-cut tin mine flooded in 1929.
Council general manager Tim Watson said the council owned two-thirds of the lake, and the rest was crown land.
He said the council had been working to have the crown land transferred to council ownership since April last year, but that transfer had now been blocked by Mineral Resources Tasmania.
“They’re concerned that if the land is transferred to council, they won’t have the ability to mine the Briseis mine hole, and [also] the land between the Briseis mine hole and the township, and my view is that would just be absolute madness,” Mr Watson said.
“The old mine hole is going to become a recreational asset, particularly with the bike trail around it for decades to come.
“To even consider mining that, I think is the height of madness.”
The council doesn’t believe the area will be mined or undergo further exploration.
Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff said it was “not my understanding” that the land transfer is being blocked, and that Crown Land Services was working through the process.
“We of course are very committed to bike trails and assisting mountain bike investment, and that continues,” Mr Rockliff said.
Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council president Wayne Bould said he hadn’t heard of any commercial operators looking to mine at Derby in the near future.
But Mr Bould said Mineral Resources Tasmania would have a “good reason” if they wanted it kept as crown land.
The Lake Derby trail is set to open on the November long weekend.
There are future plans for a beach to be developed near the lake and for recreational hire stores, with paddle boards and kayaks, to set up shop.
Mr Watson said the Lake Derby trail would open regardless of whether council controlled all the land, but not having ownership would make things difficult.
“What it means is we’d have to enter into a lease with crown land,” Mr Watson said.
“Those leases are simply unworkable. We can’t even remove dead or fallen-down trees under the conditions of those leases without getting approval from crown land.
“It was agreed with crown land that if council become the land manager that it removes a layer of administration, so it frees up crown land resources and council resources.”
The council also wants to move its Derby depot to the crown land area to free up space for recreation activities.
Minerals Resources Tasmania has been contacted for comment.