Letter to the Editor |  Trail development costly

How much of Orange ratepayers money has already been spent on the proposed Mount Canobolas Mountain Bike Park approval process? Is our council aware of the cost and time required to take this to the next stages if they pursue mountain bike tracks in this State Conservation Area? As ratepayers we are essentially shareholders in our council’s business ventures. Where is the business case to support the proposed Mountain Bike Park in the SCA?

Construction of more than 70km of track would expose and permanently disturb around 50 football fields of mostly steep slopes highly vulnerable to erosion. The proposed track network traverses known and suspected Aboriginal cultural sites and occupation areas, as well as completely ignoring the spiritual and ceremonial significance of the mountain to First Nations people.

The new trails would promote weed, disease and pest dispersal. While weeds such as blackberry exist in some areas of the SCA, Council’s claim that the development will be beneficial for weed control is simply ludicrous, and not borne out by scientific research that confirms high weed seed and disease dispersal by mountain bikes.

Massive damage to a gazetted conservation area of immense ecological and heritage value, especially when there is a perfectly suitable alternative immediately right next door in the State Forests is a no brainer. Orange City Council is proposing to take us ratepayers on a very expensive and destructive track to nowhere.

Robert McLaughlin

Published in ‘Your Say’, Central Western Daily, 13 October 2021