Orange City Council’s bike plan for Mt Canobolas is much worse than we thought it would be according to Canobolas Conservation Alliance President, Dr Colin Bower.
The plan, revealed in The Central Western Daily (27/07/21), shows Council’s intention is to take over Mt Canobolas and turn it into an exclusive, intensive mountain biking venue, Dr Bower said.
There are more tracks planned for the State Conservation Area (SCA) than in the original proposal released in 2015, not less, despite the many concerns raised by our group and the general public.
This new plan carves up the most important nature conservation reserve in the region with over 70 km of tracks that will cause widespread soil erosion and habitat loss, and lead to the long-term degradation of the conservation area.
We are appalled at the insensitivity of this plan which we believe cannot be allowed to go ahead, Dr Bower said.
Our work has proven that the entire SCA supports endangered and critically endangered ecological communities that would be severely fragmented and harmed by the proposal.
This damage would come at high monetary cost to the Council and its ratepayers, because Council would be required to pay for its damage through the NSW Biodiversity Offsets Scheme.
Mandatory compensation for vegetation clearance, and habitat loss for rare and threatened species, would run into many millions of dollars, Dr Bower said.
The sad truth is that Council is chasing a nebulous pot of gold through increased mountain bike tourism and is willing to destroy Mt Canobolas in the process.
Not only that, it will have to pay for the priviledge with millions of dollars in ratepayer’s money, even before the first sod is turned.
With every new mountain bike park, and there are now hundreds of them, the tourism dollar is spread ever more thinly, Dr Bower said.
Council may come to realise the pot of gold is a mirage, but by then Mt Canobolas will have been irreparably damaged.