Speakers argue to keep dams pristine

ENVIRONMENTALISTS have opposed pushes to open Spring Creek and Suma Park dams to recreation, saying some areas should stay pristine.

Councillor Sam Romano put a motion to Tuesday’s meeting to include powered campgrounds and amenities, although he did not support powered boats.

“A lot of people who are recreational fishing in Orange, they go away, this is to bring people to Orange,” he said.

“Not that I take anything from the wineries or the food, we’ve got the best, but this is to give people something more to do.” 

Resident Cyril Smith said wildlife had a right to enjoy natural areas in peace. 

“Do we humans require the use of all out environment or are we willing to let other creatures enjoy some of them?” he said.

He said the council had stopped Spring Creek access to protect drinking water.

“I think most of the community agreed with that,” he said. 

He argued it could be more prudent to develop Gosling Creek Dam and Lake Canobolas and leave the other two alone. 

Fellow resident Nick King said the council had a good record for enhancing natural environments through wetland development and Spring Creek in particular needed weeding.

“Basically what I want to say it’s impossible to combine sensitive environmental development practice with public access and recreational opportunities,” he said.

The council is already working on a recreational water strategy and councillor Stephen Nugent questioned why there needed to be another motion at all.

“This replicates what we’re already doing,” he said.

He was also concerned about opening all three dams “in one fell swoop” and noted Kinross Wolaroi School’s rowing team was only allowed to use Spring Creek under strict conditions.

“I don’t feel happy about supporting a motion saying that we will look at all those areas in one go.”

Mayor Reg Kidd said any strategy would need public input. 

Mr King contacted the Central Western Daily on Friday to clarify he intended to say it was was possible to combine sustainable development with recreation.