Let's start the column with some real positives.
What great coverage we received on national television on Saturday. It included a number of wineries, and a special mention of Mount Canobolas, some great vision.
Just think about the audience it would have reached and the visitors it will subsequently bring to Orange.
Presently we are having serious discussions with National Parks and Wildlife and the Minister on the need for adequate resourcing for the Mountain as invasive weeds, and animals already have or will in the future decrease the biodiversity on the mountain, which will be to the detriment of the environment and make it less attractive to the community.
Some walking trails are closed and the very popular Federal Falls trail suffers from disrepair, blackberry invasions and possible erosion due to wild pig invasion.
On recent visits to various parts of the Mountain it is obvious something needs to be done or the finds of new plant species will be not be enjoyed by future generations.
Work is needed on the parking, signage and amenities on top of the Mountain, as well as the other lookouts and parking spots.
Unfortunately insufficient resources were put into the Mountain post the fires (which would have been the ideal time to manage the invasive weeds and animals).
If we are to get folk to appreciate and understand the uniqueness of the Mountain we must do it through engagement, education and ownership. Look at what Tasmania has done with Cradle Mountain.
Opposing any attempts at working on the various components of the Mountain will lead to it losing much of its biodiversity.
Several studies have been made of the Mountain's flora, fauna, geological history and indigenous interaction, all of which are significant.
This knowledge will help preserve those areas and educate the community on their significance as well as allowing people to experience it first hand.
The budget has been endorsed by Council and it has a number of significant projects.
Over $75 million dollars in infrastructure projects will hopefully help stimulate the local economy via some 150 jobs and infrastructure that will be available to all the community.
For example, there is a massive increase in footpaths, playgrounds, parks and gardens.
Water infrastructure is another major item, with $5 million to establish Blackmans Creek Stormwater harvesting.
This follows on from Council's national and international award winning Ploughmans Creek project.
All environmental checks and balances are put in place to ensure that stormwater harvesting is a win-win for the environment and the community.
I find the majority of the community care about their environment, therefore I am supporting this project as a qualified environmentalist and long-term hands-on participant in education and projects that enhance our communities environment.
Lake Canobolas looks a picture at the moment with water cascading over the spillway. With the Lake coffee shop and the easy walking track around the Lake, it is a must see at the moment. Also visit the historic pump house while you are there. Restored as a bicentennial project by Orange TAFE.
Council is investing substantial resources into the scout camp and already you can notice the difference.
The biking park established largely by volunteers is attracting large numbers of locals and outside visitors.
Thus with sound management, adequate resourcing the Mount Canobolas precinct could become a 'mecca' for passive and active sports.
Negotiations are underway to commence work on the $25 million sports precinct at Brabham Park and we are hoping for an announcement soon on the Conservatorium, and work on the CBD upgrade.
Of concern is the vandalism that continues to occur around the city in various forms and I am sure those doing it have no idea of what it costs the community.
Please if you see any vandalism occurring contact the police, as we would like to see the culprits named and shamed.
School holidays are nearly upon us so keep alert while driving around our beautiful city. Stay safe, warm and vigilant with COVID-19 requirements.
Orange Mayor Reg Kidd
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