Orange mayor Reg Kidd has called on an environmentalist group opposed to mountain biking on Mount Canobolas to provide more information to back their claims.
Canobolas Conservation Alliance president Dr Colin Bower has just released a report, compiled from a series of past studies of the Mount Canobolas environment, which says mountain biking in the State Conservation Area of the mountain will have a "significant negative impact on biodiversity."
Orange City Council has since released preliminary findings stating there is room on the mountain for an environmentally-sensitive bike park.
It's really important to get the facts and not the emotive aspectsCr Reg Kidd, Orange mayor
Cr Kidd said a team of environmental scientists, archaelogists and specialist track designers had begun an independent assessment of the mountain.
"I'm delighted the first round of mapping is showing very positive results," he said.
"Council's consultant has completed the preliminary stages of mapping locations on the mountain which would constrain the locations of track. This mapping indicates areas where there would be low, moderate and high constraints if tracks were built there, as well as complete 'no-go' areas.
"Importantly this mapping indicates the areas on the mountain where the bike trails could be designed."
Cr Kidd called on the CCA to provide more information on the names and types of species of flora and fauna they said would be at threat by mountain bikes.
The CCA is concerned mountain biking paths will fragment the conservation area making it difficult for species to cross the path areas.
However, Cr Kidd said that had not happened at other key conservation areas in Australia, including Mount Kosciuszko and Cradle Mountain, where paths had been introduced.
He said the report had also not addressed the problem of invasive weeds, pests and feral animals on the mountain which he said already threatened rare species on the mountain.
"There seems to be no comment whatsoever on the problem of invasive species on the mountain," he said.
"It's really important to get the facts and not the emotive aspects." The two reports have been released just before council hosts a forum on the mountain biking plan at the Orange Civic Theatre on Thursday from 5.30pm.
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