MEDIA REPORT | Tourism gambit looks like uphill battle

Skyway to hell: Proposal for Mount Canobolas raises residents’ ire

THE activation of Mount Canobolas’ summit, including a skyway, is just one strand in a 56-page Orange Region Destination Management Plan to increase tourism but it’s raised the ire of some residents.

NATURAL TOURISM: Activating the summit of Mt Canobolas with a skycar has been suggested by the draft Destinations Management Plan. Photo CARLA FREEDMAN

Friday was the final day to comment on the draft management plan, submitted by consultants Urban Enterprise as a tool to guide tourism growth in Orange, Blayney and Cabonne heading towards 2026.

The draft DMP was divided into two sections with the first half an assessment of the tourism state-of-play in the three contributing local government areas while the second sets out a framework which provides ‘a vision, objectives and measurable goals to guide visitor economy development for the next five years.’

There are seven major themes identified to guide investment: visitor economy foundations; visitor ready region; destination marketing and brand awareness; creativity, arts and culture; events, festivals and conferencing; ferments, culinary and night time economy; and nature, cycling and recreation.

The latter suggests Mt Canobolas and Lake Canobolas have untapped potential especially considering the proximity to Orange and smaller towns and villages. They are also central to a several of the region’s wineries.

To improve the tourist potential of the Towac area, the report touts a skyway and redevelopment of the Canobolas summit, a Mount Canobolas Aboriginal heritage centre, walking and cycling trails, water-based activities and a destination playground.

As mentioned, it’s one small part of the DMP draft yet the comments on OCC Yoursay webpage have honed in on theme seven.

Luke87 wrote Mt Canobolas’ unique flora, fauna and fungi meant it should be given a wide berth by development, sentiments echoed by JennyP, SC1007, Jotrack and BasilB39.

“New species of flora, fauna and fungi are being discovered all the time which WILL be compromised by fragmenting the mountain through creating more walking and mountain biking tracks. Carving up this fragile sub alpine ecosystem will result in negative edge effects, and deeper spreading of weeds and other pest species, and increase the littering that is already a problem due to disrespectful visitors,” says Luke87

“It’s also disrespectful to First Nations people to have a sacred place of theirs further developed into exploitative tourist attraction. I do not want my rates being spent on this unethical development. Leave Mt Canobolas alone.”

“In the wide consultation of which you boast, the plan makes it obvious that no environmentalist nor conservationist was consulted,” Jotrack wrote.

Orange City Council staff will now collate feedback on the draft plan before it be considered by the Council later this year.

The original of this Report by Kate Bowyer appeared in Central Western Daily, August 1, 2022 |