The following press release (12 September 2019) announced the formation of a new alliance of conservationists to oppose a national mountain biking park on Mount Canobolas.
Members of four Central West conservation groups have formed the Canobolas Conservation Alliance (CCA) to oppose the proposal for an international mountain biking competition centre in the Mt Canobolas nature conservation reserve.
Alliance spokesperson, Dr Colin Bower, said the CCA was a single issue group with the sole purpose of ensuring that no harm to the environment results from the attempt to convert the conservation area into a bike park.
‘We are disappointed the new Plan of Management includes provision for new mountain biking tracks since the case for excluding development was very strong.’
‘However, we are pleased the new plan does not confer approval on Orange City Council’s proposal as some have stated. Rather, approval would only be granted if Council can demonstrate through the environmental assessment process that no net damage to the conservation area would occur.’
‘It is very clear to us the current proposal would disturb many environmentally sensitive areas on the mountain that support multiple rare and threatened plants and animals, some of which depend on the conservation area as their last habitats on earth.’
‘The proposed tracks would also traverse important cultural heritage sites dating back thousands of years and disturb fragile alpine soils that are shallow and prone to erosion.’
‘One of the roles of the CCA is to gather and collate scientific information on Mt Canobolas to feed into the assessment process and to inform the public.’
‘Our scientific members have already compiled a vast amount of information showing the unique biological values of the conservation area which could so easily be lost through ignorance.’
‘We believe there are viable alternative sites for mountain biking that could achieve the economic and tourism objectives of the Council without damaging the most important nature conservation reserve in the Central West.’
The CCA includes members of the Orange Field Naturalist and Conservation Society, the Environmentally Concerned Citizens of Orange, the Central West Environment Council, the Central West Bushwalking Club and other independent individuals.