THERE’S few things which get Orange tongues wagging like the forecast of snow.
For much of the past week offices, cafes and social media platforms have been abuzz with news of the predicted white weekend.
Fair enough, too – the years when our landscape is transformed into a white wonderland of sorts is one of the few perks of Orange’s usually bitter and biting winters.
But it seems not all snow news is good news.
On Friday, Cabonne Council announced it would close off access to the summit of Mount Canobolas, which falls into its local government area.
The decision – one which the council routinely makes in the name of safety – was not well received in all quarters, with many people questioning the decision’s impact on their ability to enjoy the snow, given the top of the mountain almost always receives the thickest blanket.
HAVE YOUR SAY …
The arguments made were based around it being unfair to restrict the passage of those residents with the vehicles and know-how to safely climb and descend the summit in the name of protecting those who possess one or none of those qualities.
While there’s some merit to that case, the ultimate truth is that the authorities have an obligation to protect all motorists, even (some may say especially) those who can’t or won’t protect themselves.
There are few things we do that carry with them a greater risk to our own health and safety — and the health and safety of others — than getting behind of the wheel of a motor vehicle.
Add in the slippery conditions on icy roads and the perilous drop-offs on either side and the risks and dangers are multiplied.
The pass to the top of the mountain is steep, narrow and winding thanks to its unique terrain, and the cold snap makes those conditions even more treacherous.
It’s worth remembering that, if the access remained open, some motorists would be experiencing for the first time the unique challenges of driving in such conditions.
That being the case, should they stay away? Yes. Can anyone guarantee they would? No.
And that’s why the road is, and should be, closed.
Besides, there’s always good spots at The Pinnacle to enjoy the snow.