LAKE PLACID: Fears recreation area will become a 'bogan Disneyland'

LAKE Canobolas could be at risk of turning into a “bogan Disneyland” if the area is opened up for motorhomes and caravans, according to Environmentally Concerned Citizens of Orange (ECCO) president Nick King.

There has been a renewed focus on the futures of the lake and Mount Canobolas in recent weeks, with councillor Reg Kidd calling for the council to allocate millions on extra facilities for the area and dreams of turning it into a mountain biking mecca to boost Orange’s economy.

While Mr King supports camping at the lake and believes mountain biking is a good fit for the area, he wants to ensure the its status as a passive recreation area is retained.

The topic will be up for discussion at Wednesday’s ECCO meeting.

He said ideas such as allowing water skiing at the lake were incompatible with current passive activities like swimming and boating.

“I’ve been a user of the lake since I was born,” he said.

“I think camping is a great idea but only for tents, we don’t want big Winnebagos and caravans, just a nice place to pitch a tent ... and minor upgrades to facilities as necessary.”

A temporary camping site at the lake set up for seasonal workers has come under fire in recent weeks from residents concerned it was an eyesore with unruly campers.

But Mr King echoed calls for the camp site to be relocated at the lake to fix the problems, as did fellow ECCO member and councillor Neil Jones.

“I don’t support seasonal worker backpacker camping in its present location,” Cr Jones said.

“I do support the proposal in the [lake’s] management plan for bush camping pods in the area to the north of the current toilet/shower block.”

Cr Jones said passive recreation of the lake like swimming, fishing, children’s playground, triathlon, dragon boats, and canoes had a minimal impact on the environment.

Mr King said ECCO was a strong supporter of bike riding and he believed there were no environmental issues with using the former earth sanctuary as a mountain bike trail.

But he said an environmental impact study would be needed before land surrounding Mount Canobolas and managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service was opened to bikes.

The ECCO general meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 26 from 7.30pm at the Environmental Learning Facility at the Orange Showground.

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