THE public has been assured a proposed bridle path and underpass through the Southern Feeder Road will be safe for horses and their riders.
Orange City Council gave in-principle support for a rezoning around Towac Park, paving the way for a subdivision into large residential blocks where residents can keep horses.
Councillor Tony Mileto was not convinced about having young people walking a horse alongside a busy road to access the underpass linking housing blocks to the racecourse.
"You run the risk of those horses being spooked by cars or trucks in the process," he said.
"Anyone who's had anything to do with horses in the past would be aware that horses can be unpredictable."
My daughter's on her third horse, about to be fourth, so rest assured your concerns will be taken on board by staff.Acting general manager David Waddell
He asked whether a condition should be added instead to require properties south of the road to access Towac Park Racecourse by float.
Councillor Scott Munro believed the rezoning would help make Orange more attractive to horse trainers, saying "build it and they will come".
"To float a racehorse across the road to do trackwork is a little bit silly when you've spent ... dollars on a facility to transfer them," he said.
Acting general manager David Waddell said safety was a priority.
"My daughter's on her third horse, about to be fourth, so rest assured your concerns will be taken on board by staff," he said.
Technical services director Ian Greenham said fencing would separate horses from the road, funnelling them towards the underpass.
He said the underpass would be at ground level, meaning the road would be built over the top.
"If the underpass wasn't there, the road would be lower," he said.
Councillor Stephen Nugent asked whether the underpass position would affect future options for the Southern Feeder Road route, after a former councillor suggested extending James Road rather than going down Ploughmans Lane, and was told it would not.
A developer contributions plan will now be developed to ensure the underpass and fencing would be covered without ratepayer funds.
DO YOU WANT MORE ORANGE NEWS?
- Receive our free newsletters delivered to your inbox, as well as breaking news alerts. Sign up below ...