The environmental impact of improving runners and cyclists' access to Gosling Creek Reserve is under consideration by Orange City Council, despite the project already receiving funding by state government.
The Orange Cycle and Triathlon Club successfully applied for a $110,000 grant to widen an existing track at the reserve through the NSW Government's My Community Project, but its potential for damage to flora and fauna is yet to be assessed by council.
The triathlon club has proposed removing trees and shrubs in order to widen the track around the creek from three metres to six metres to improve safety for inexperienced riders and runners, and make room for human-powered vehicles.
Almost a hectare of land was identified as potential for disturbance.
Four critically-endangered birds and the critically-endangered Euphrasia Arguta plant have all been found to exist in the area proposed for development.
As part of the proposal, which includes relocating existing infrastructure such as fencing, rubbish bins, signage and Park Run markers, the triathlon club was required to have the potential for damage to wildlife assessed.
According to the application, the independent assessment did not trigger a need to offset the damage through a credit scheme, which is the government standard for judging the feasibility of a project on Crown land.
Club president Phil Tudor said the report had found the potential for damage to the environment to be minimal. He said the benefits exceeded the triathlon club's needs.
"We're not trying to build a big fancy race track, we're building something for the people of Orange," he said.
"We're trying to create a place where people who aren't confident riding on the roads can get the chance to learn somewhere safe."
The council will vote on Tuesday whether to change the land's plan of management, from its traditional purpose as a nature reserve to reflect the move towards being used as a sporting precinct.
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