Paddling in same direction on Lake: Getting parks and wildlife services on board

GAINING the support of the National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) to open Mount Canobolas to more visitors will help Orange City Council’s chances of attracting grants for upgrades to the entire Canobolas precinct, according to Cr Reg Kidd.

And after a meeting in Sydney last week Cr Kidd is confident the NPWS will be on side.

Cr Kidd met with NPWS customer experience director Sally Chatterjee and visitor experience manager Simon Stroud, member for Orange Andrew Gee, Central West Off-road Bicycle Club president Scott Charlton and policy adviser to the Minister for Environment and Heritage Edward Steane.

“They really warmed to the idea of having some sort of partnership with National Parks [and Wildlife Service] and looking at how Mount Canobolas and the lake area can be used for a whole range of activities from trail walks ... right through to passive things like swimming, bush walks, camping,” he said.

“It’s been a bit piecemeal out there ... we [the council] looked at the earth sanctuary and didn’t link it with the lake and the walking trails.

“This is something that every single person could enjoy ... it will generate money, employ people and bring tourism to Orange.”

Cr Kidd’s defended his suggestions to spend millions on the precinct, saying passive sports were often forgotten while council invested in facilities such as the indoor pool and sportsground.

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“You have to show you have the money to put in as leverage to get grants,” he said.

He said all at last week’s meeting liked the idea of primitive camping in the area, he believed the location and management of the temporary camping ground near the lake were the only reasons for recent criticism.

As for accessing state conservation and national parks area, Cr Kidd does not expect it to be a hurdle provided the correct process is followed with environmental studies.

“The best way to conserve the area is to get people to enjoy the area ... if they feel they own the area that stops stupid bloody vandalism and things getting out of sync with invasive species,” he said.

Opening up the Scout camp to more visitors and improving the facilities could also be on the cards.

Cr Kidd said he and Mr Charlton were now calculating more concrete figures for the costs of improved bike trails and other upgrades before further meetings with council staff.

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