MORE fitness-based recreational activities and better basic amenities would make Lake Canobolas a more attractive venue and boost visitor numbers, according to the manager of the lake’s kiosk.
The Lakehouse manager Ben Crawley said the park did not need a major change in direction, instead the natural beauty should be capitalised on, with more tracks for walking and cycling, static exercise equipment and more affordable water-based activities like kayaking and canoeing at the lake.
“[Fitness recreation] would be a major pull factor for not only tourism but also to bring people to the area to live,” he said.
“It needs low impact things ... [families] want something easy and outdoorsy to do.”
Orange councillor Ash Brown has grander plans for the lake, believing an open-air amphitheatre for concerts and a lakeside restaurant were potential options.
“It could put us on the map if it was done right,” he said.
“We need an expert to see what could be done.”
He said Orange City Council would need to get Cabonne Council on board to attract more funding and make the plans a reality.
The 10-year tourism strategy adopted by the council last month pitches eco-cabins for the area.
Both agree with the recommendation.
Mr Crawley said the cabins would be a better fit for the lake than camping and also rejected suggestions for a tourist park.
“It’s a pretty clean and natural area so we need low impact accommodation,” he said.
“I don’t think there should be a camping area in the reserve ... it’s used by locals and tourists and I don’t think camping and the community go hand-in-hand.”
Cr Brown supported ideas for a privately-operated tourist park at the lake, and said it could be established at the same time the eco-cabins were developed.
But before any grand plans are drawn up, Mr Crawley said the basics needed to be covered, with his customers often commenting about the poor state of the toilets and amenities.
“If there were more facilities there would be more positive word of mouth,” he said.
“You need those basic essentials. The beach at the lake should be perfect all the time. There’s a massive awe factor, if you’re a tourist you are going to tell someone.”
Mr Crawley agrees with suggestions for an open air amphitheatre but rejects Cr Brown’s lakeside restaurant idea saying there is not enough demand for more high-end dining.
“You’ve got really good restaurants within 100 to 200 metres,” Mr Crawley said.
“You need something that ties in with the lake.”