On your bike: Orange councillor's plans for mountain biking mecca

DREAMS of transforming the Lake Canobolas and Mount Canobolas area into a mountain biking mecca, with a camping ground, and RV park, could be closer to becoming a reality.

Cr Reg Kidd wants his fellow councillors to spend up to $1 million on the project in this year’s budget and follow it up with a further $2 million next year.

Central West Off-Road Bicycle Club president Scott Charlton last month floated the idea of investing in mountain biking as a new industry to aid Orange’s post-Electrolux recovery.

Cr Kidd backs the idea but has even grander plans, with hopes the council could create a permanent camping ground for seasonal workers, a site for RV vehicles, offer funds towards an upgrade of the Scout camp and reopen the lake’s historic pump house to tourists.

“It’s no good having a pristine area no one can enjoy. The best way to preserve it is to have people enjoying it" - COUNCILLOR REG KIDD

He believes it would fit in with the council’s jobs strategy to create opportunities for redundant Electrolux workers.

“I am sure there would be something for everybody in such development,” he said.

“It would set us apart as a recreational centre of excellence that would lead to increased employment, increased tourism, and increased income into the area.”

Cr Kidd downplayed concerns bringing more people to the precinct would impact the environment.

“We’ve got a beautiful area out there, you can still enjoy the ambiance of the ecosystem,” he said.

“It’s no good having a pristine area no one can enjoy. The best way to preserve it is to have people enjoying it.”

COUNCILLORS ENVISAGE CYCLING CITY

BROWN'S DREAM FOR THE LAKE

Cr Kidd believes the council’s investment would be leverage to attract state and federal government grants, and work on the area would bring employment and training opportunities.

He warned against the use of external consultants conducting feasibility studies into the project, saying the bicycle club’s proposal was based on sound research with comparisons to similar ventures.

But his dreams could hit a roadblock with his fellow councillors who will all have their own wish lists come budget time.

Cr Kidd said in the lead-up to the budget there had been talk of millions of dollars for a rectangular field, but he wanted the project factored into the council’s future plans now.

Towac Park, a southern feeder road and planetarium are all likely to compete as priorities for council funds.

clare.colley@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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