The following article by David Fitzsimons appeared in the Central Western Daily on 10 September 2019.
CYCLING: The coloured lines represent part of the 63-kilometre web of mountain bike trails planned for Mount Canobolas as shown in the concept plan.
A 63-kilometre web of mountain bike trails could be built on Mount Canobolas within five years, creating an economic boost for the region.
That’s the view of Orange City Council and two councillors after expanded mountain biking trails were included in the amended National Parks and Wildlife’s Mount Canobolas Plan of Management released this week.
Council employment and economic development committee chair Cr Tony Mileto said it would be a “significant” tourist drawcard.
“It is estimated that the park when complete will add $3.5 million tourist dollars a year and create 42 jobs,” he said.
Orange mayor Reg Kidd said work would start soon to add to the previous concept plan for the bike trails.
“We still have a significant amount of work to do to seek consent for mountain biking but the changes to the plan of management have improved our chances significantly. Now we can get working on the next steps,” he said.
“There has been some discussion around how we need to protect this important site and I couldn’t agree more. Mountain biking will bring a level of appreciation that has been missing.”
Orange Mountain Bike Club president Jack Rahilly said it was “really good news” for mountain biking.
“It unlocks the huge potential of the area,” he said.
“It’s got the potential to be one of the top mountain bike facilities. It would be a big tourist drawcard, particularly for people from Sydney.”
However, Mr Rahilly said it might end up being smaller than proposed as riders did not want to endanger sensitive environmental areas.
Environmentally Concerned Citizens of Orange secretary Nick King said the proposal would be subject to rigorous environmental checks.
“There are a tremendous amount of constraints they would have to meet. I think it would be very difficult to justify such a size,” he said.
“They [OCC] would need to be aware they will be under very intensive scrutiny by a lot of experts in the field, most of these who have expressed opposition to it.”
Mr King said ECCO was not opposed to mountain bike trails, just those planned for environmentally-sensitive State Conservation Areas.