'Time for sensible debate' on Mount Canobolas: Kidd

THERE is a long way to go, but Orange’s MTB community is pleased with progress towards allowing bicycles on Mount Canobolas. 

With the draft plan of management on public exhibition, Orange MTB Club member Rod Farrell said the club had met with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service in February to discuss the draft.

“This is so much more than just about bike riders, there is an opportunity for Orange to grow,” he said.

“Orange hasn’t grown at the rate Bathurst and Dubbo have – when there’s so much talk about Orange struggling with retail, imagine if you had 50,000 more people in town a year.”

The draft plan suggested groups of six riders or more would need consent to use the facilities, which Mr Farrell thought was “entirely reasonable” given horseriding was already limited in a similar way. 

“What they’re saying is don’t fill a minibus with 40 riders and hog the place,” he said. 

He said the club might suggest wording changes in the draft, but building the trails was “step 100”.

“We’re at step 10,” he said.

“We need to go in with an ecologist, a professional trail building team and national parks, we’re talking six to 10 weeks of walking the whole area and identifying all the areas of concern and map that out.”

He said WorldTrail successfully constructed the trails at Mount Buller in Victoria, which involved ecosystems at similar altitude.

Mayor Reg Kidd said other developments in Tasmania and overseas had proven biodiversity could be maintained and even enhanced, and locking up national parks was not beneficial.

But he said it required resources he believed did not currently exist. 

“Road access to the top is very limited by weather conditions and we possibly lose tourists who would enjoy the view or perhaps that magnate, snow,” he said.

“I do not have the answers, but I think the time is right for a sensible debate on how we as a community can make best use of a wonderful resource.”

Click here to see the draft plan – submissions close on October 1.