A REPORT on the pros and cons of fishing in Suma Park Dam will be compiled for a closer look at the issue but anglers shouldn't get their hopes up just yet.
Cr Steve Peterson brought the matter up at Tuesday night's Orange City Council meeting, asking for council staff to provide insight into the feasibility and impacts of fishing on Orange's major water supply, and other water sources, if a jetty was constructed.
Cr Peterson believed the more information council had on the issue, the better armed it would be to apply for government grants which had been flagged by a major party heading into this weekend's Federal election, thus taking the onus on expenditure away from ratepayers.
A member of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, Cr Glenn Floyd was the first to back Cr Peterson's proposal, adding he believed it should go further, enabling non-powered water craft like kayaks to be used there.
"As we may or may not know, recreational fishing in NSW adds approximately $3.5 billion to the NSW economy annually and provides about 14,000 jobs," he said adding the Central West was second only the Snowy Mountains as a NSW fishing destination.
"We have some of the best native fishing in Australia," he said.
However, Jeff Whitton tempered the enthusiasm.
"We've done this many times in council, this particular item has come up many, many times in council in my time and I believe after bringing back the report will give the new councillors some insight into why past councils have refused fishing in our drinking water ways," he said.
Cr David Mallard also referenced the attempts of former councillor Neil Jones to have the reservoir opened up.
"The report must address potential for where we are accessing that site. and address the issues around ensuring the quality of water is protected," Cr Mallad said.
Mr Jones said he had followed Tuesday night's debate with interest.
"Suma Park does not have the same environmental constraints and significant wildlife habitats," Mr Jones said.
"Recent damage to vegetation by irresponsible adult fishermen is having a major impact at Ploughmans Wetlands. Thankfully children fishing are of no concern and are more respectful of the environment."
While the call for a report was backed unanimously, Cr Tony Mileto and Cr Mel McDonald believed Suma Park should be preserved as a reservoir only although Cr Mileto suggested the amendment funding could be sought to enhance Orange's existing water ways, Lake Canobolas and Gosling Creek.
Dr Kevin Duffy also backed the plan, pointing out Council already owned a parcel of land between the NDR and Suma Park's shore.
He also echoed Cr Peterson's comments on fishing's possible effect on water quality.
"I've been out at the Molong Dam and seen 100 head of cattle standing in it, flatulence, having the time of their life. You can't help that. It's just part of nature."
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