Despite the new Newtownabbey Way only being officially opened in the past week there have been calls for the authorities to get tough on those threatening the impressive public cycleway and path with destruction.
According to the council, the new section from Corr’s Corner to Mossley has been dogged by those using scrambler vehicles and they have caused extensive damage in the area.
The council has said many of the vehicles have come in from the New Mossley estate. As well as using the official gateways to the path, parts of the fence along the path have been damaged to create crude entrances, adding to the ratepayers’ burden.
A Monkstown man has called on the council and the police to crack down on those riding about the new Newtownabbey Way sections on their scramblers and quad bikes.
He said he witnessed two young children destroying a section of grass on the section between Mossley and Corr’s Corner.
The man, who asked not to be named, said their actions were a “disgrace”.
He said: “The Newtownabbey Way is a fantastic accomplishment by the council. It really is stunning how well it has turned out and a great resource for everyone.
“But it is being threatened by those using it to ride on their quad bikes and scramblers.”
He added: “They are destroying the land and putting people’s safety in danger. On two occasions I have seen children riding about on quad bikes and on one of those occasions they rode past me very quickly when I had my two young children with me, it was scary.
“I have called the police, but there needs to be constant patrols and the vehicles taken off them and crushed before this becomes a major problem and people stop using the path because they are scared to.
“But I have to question the parents for buying these quad bikes when they know the children have no where to ride them safely and legally - they should also be punished and the best way is to hit them in the pocket.”
The impressive new multi-million pound Newtownabbey Way development has been in use for the past number of months and was officially opened last Wednesday by the Mayor and minister for environment.
The project, which has taken 14 years to complete, provides a network of walking and cycling routes from Corr’s Corner to Loughshore Park at Jordanstown.
Newtownabbey Borough Council has said the use of scrambler on the new section of the Newtownabbey Way between Mossley and Corr’s Corner has been an “ongoing problem” since August.
A statement said: “Parks wardens have been patrolling the area regularly over recent months to try to deter the perpetrators and gather information to report to police. The incidents mainly take place at weekends and the vehicles appear to access the path from New Mossley estate. In addition to the genuine access points onto the path from the estate a number of unauthorised entrances have been created by the scrambler drivers.
“The existing fence has been damaged in several places to create these unauthorised entrances.
“The council is currently assessing the cost of repairs to this fence and is also looking at ways to limit further unauthorised access to the path. The council is also in contact with the PSNI following the earlier incidents reported to them.”
Margaret Lindsay, the council’s Parks and Cemeteries Manager added: “The great news is that more and more people are genuinely using this section of path since the Newtownabbey Way was recently completed.
“We want to encourage walkers and cyclists to enjoy this path and we are working with the PSNI to try to deal with the problem of the scramblers in the area. Fortunately the damaged grass areas usually self-repair but the tracks and muck created are unsightly and those genuine path users have every right to be annoyed about the antisocial behaviour the scrambler drivers are responsible for.
“The public can be reassured that the council is determined to try to stop this antisocial behaviour and will be working with the PSNI and the local community to this end.”