Councillors envisage cycling city

And the initiatives have the support of Orange councillors who want to get the wheel rolling to transform Orange into a cycling Mecca, bringing more tourism dollars to town.

Orange mayor John Davis said cycling would be the next big thing for Orange, at last week’s council meeting.

The council’s Bicycling Community Committee are working on a raft of ways to attract the target group and councillors appear to be on-side.

Councillor Glenn Taylor believes, with some minor tweaking, the internal road network at Lake Canobolas could be used as a criterium track for short bike races.

“We would be prohibited with the roads we currently use because of speed humps,” he said.

“I propose bolt-down speed humps that could be removed before criterium events.”

“We could look at budget allocation of hot mix to make it a very smooth surface for these events.”

Cr Taylor said the facility would be a way of attracting more road cyclists and triathletes to the city, complementing the mountain bike park being built across the road at the former earth sanctuary.

Development services director David Waddell said the council was working to bring the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Cabonne Council on board to open Mount Canobolas up for bikes.

Cr Jeff Whitton believes the design of Orange’s CBD lends itself to street racing.

“Closing off those streets for a day of street racing would bring an enormous amount of people to town and they’d be plonked right in town with all the shops and cafes,” he said.

Cr Ash Brown has grander plans.

He wants the council to purchase land south of the lake to create an outdoor amphitheatre and camping ground to boost the facilities on offer at the tourist attraction.

“These cyclists are willing to camp. That land is not expensive. It’s around the $400,000 mark,” he said.

Mr Waddell said the council had successfully gained funding from the Roads and Martimes Services in the past for bike paths and infrastructure in Orange, but would go after further grants to take the leap forward and turn Orange into a cycling Mecca.

“The dream would be some sort of tour where you’re attracting hundreds of comptitors and support crews,” he said.

“It’s something that could bring a lot to the economy of Orange.”

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