The Coastal Open Space System (COSS) is a network of reserves with the purpose “to maintain areas of native vegetation and habitat for native animals on public land”. COSS was put in place by the former Gosford Council over 35 years ago. It is a long term strategy that involves the voluntary acquisition of lands and is about 70% complete - so there is still more work to do.

During the last 3 years, there have been efforts to  downplay COSS and its significance.  It has been a constant battle to try to protect this legacy - and it continues to face threats. One of these threats is mountain biking. Council is releasing a draft feasibility study for mountain biking in our region. There is significant pressure from vested interests to open up environmentally sensitive COSS lands for this activity. 

In my view, the discussion paper is biased having been prepared by consultants that benefit from mountain biking and involving targeted input from mountain bikers.  On 18 December 2017, Council resolved that there be an environmental assessment for any increased activity in environmental lands - this has not been done.

Council’s COSS Committee has a role in providing advice to Council. On 29 May 2019, the COSS Committee discussed that the Feasibility Study needs to include the cost of rehabilitation, education and compliance. This has not been done.

At their last meeting, the COSS Advisory Committee expressed their strong concerns that they were not consulted on the draft MTB report in order to provide advice to Council about our COSS lands—as is their role.

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