NON-powered boating and fishing will be allowed at Gosling Creek and Spring Creek reservoirs, but strong public opposition has meant year-round camping will not be added to the list.
Councillors voted seven to five not to allow camping on Tuesday night following an hour each of debate and public addresses.
RV parking was also voted down, as were any activities at Suma Park, but with human-powered vehicle events earmarked for Gosling Creek, councillors decided to keep the camping option open for events.
During the public exhibition period, 129 people and groups voiced their opposition, many concerned about the impact on native animals, while four were in support.
MAP: Where Orange’s dams are and what you can do there
Brad Simmons told the meeting campers would not react well when 200 people used the reserve during Sunday Parkruns, while Robert Smith spoke on behalf of caretaker’s cottage resident Mitch Deacon about “nightly” drug activity at Gosling Creek and Bloomfield Park.
“The introduction of free camping will in no doubt result in an increased demand for this illegal trade,” he said.
Jane Wiesener said the landowners downstream of Gosling Creek held water licences and were concerned about ongoing quality if RV travellers dumped grey and black water into the creek.
“Water is pumped from Gosling Creek and is used for our vegetable gardens and stock – we do not have town water,” she said.
“I am interested in how council proposes to prevent the pollution of Gosling Creek.”
You’ve got to remember this is a public recreational reserve – surely we can work together.Councillor Sam Romano
Councillor Sam Romano asked to allow tents on the northern side of Gosling Creek, restricted so it did not impede on events and activities
“You’ve got to remember this is a public recreational reserve – surely we can work together,” he said.
“My grandkids have often asked me to take them fishing and camp the night – I’d like that to be legal.”
He said he had collected 406 petition signatures supporting camping “without trying”.
However, councillors were concerned about the maintenance cost and the risk campers would litter or light fires.
Councillor Stephen Nugent said public feedback should be heeded.
“It’s one thing to sign a petition very quickly and another thing to spend the time to write long, detailed submissions,” he said.
DO YOU WANT MORE ORANGE NEWS?
Receive our free newsletters delivered to your inbox, as well as breaking news alerts. Sign up below …