A LUGE track at the earth sanctuary near Lake Canobolas could be first of its kind in NSW and offer Orange a unique selling point for tourists, according to a 10-year plan to boost visitation to the area.
But Dane Child, the man behind the push for an indoor extreme sports venue for Orange, has warned the track would need to be marketed correctly if it was to be a successful attraction.
“Anything can be done but it’s a niche market,” he said.
“The bonus is people don’t have to bring their own equipment because it’s all supplied.”
Redeveloping the earth sanctuary is estimated to cost around $6 million, according to the plan which suggests Orange City Council should begin pre-feasibility studies into the idea between now and May this year.
The plan says the luge track could be undertaken by an experienced private developer offering both Orange and Cabonne an “attractive income stream” to help offset maintenance costs.
“The attraction could offer visitors with a choice of two tracks one being a scenic track, which provides a more gentle gradient and with several pit stops allowing visitors to appreciate the natural surroundings and enabling them to take photos of passing racers,” the plan says.
“The second track could be an adventure track for thrill seekers, offering a significantly steeper gradient with a tunnel as well as several dips and corners.”
The plan says the track could be modelled on the Skyline Luge in Queenstown, New Zealand and suggests Orange’s adverse weather conditions in winter could enhance the appeal of the attraction.
Councillor Ash Brown said the luge track was a good idea for a family activity, but needed to be developed in conjunction with other upgrades to the area and should not be the focus.
Mr Child said a luge track at Jamberoo theme park on the South Coast had been successful but believed the ideas should be expanded to include a dirt track for mountain biking using the natural resources of Mount Canobolas.
“It would be good for the council to invest into [mountain biking] but they’re still one track minded,” he said.
Mr Child said such a venue would attract local interest and a tourist market from extreme sports enthusiasts.
He said bike riding events could be spread over days to encourage competitors to stay locally.