A new draft Lake Canobolas Precinct Master Plan has backed the site’s potential to become a major cultural, recreational and environmental hub in the region.
Orange City Council engaged consultants Stone Three Design to create the new Lake Canobolas Precinct Master Plan, which includes Lake Canobolas, the Canobolas Scout Camp and the existing Mountain Bike Park.
The master plan will provide a long-term vision for developments at the precinct, by listing possible projects that may be budgeted for in future years.
At the April 20 Council Meeting, councillors voted to put the draft master plan on public exhibition to encourage people to have their say on suggested plans for the precinct, as well as the activities and facilities they would like to see established at the site.
Orange Mayor Reg Kidd welcomed the new plan to upgrade the precinct, with the previous master plan developed in 2004.
“The way the area is used has changed over the years. Lake Canobolas itself has seen a huge increase in visits by both regional residents and tourists, and has the potential to become a significant attraction,” he said.
“The master plan will assist council to develop infrastructure to improve the precinct in the long-term, while protecting the natural environment. I encourage members of the community to find out more and have their say about the future of the site to help us create a picture of what the community wants at the precinct.”
Some of the key ideas proposed in the draft master plan include:
- The establishment of a visitors’ centre including art gallery, kiosk/restaurant and regional promotion space
- Bicycle and walking connections to the lake from Orange, the Pinnacle and Mt Canobolas.
- A lakeside boatshed and jetty for boating groups.
- Additional accommodation at the Scout Camp, as well as an indoor recreation hall and studio/workshop space.
- Additional boardwalks at the lake and through the Scout Camp and Mountain Bike Park.
- Upgrades to existing amenities.
Cr Kidd said the consultants spoke with past, present and potential future users of the precinct, including residents, business owners, land owners, environmental groups, the local Aboriginal Land Council (ALC), sporting groups, emergency services, tourism operators and community service organisations, to gain a broad understanding of the activities and infrastructure required in the area.
“In the case of the Scout camp in particular, it could be for schools, local community groups or other programs,” he said.
“The various components that we put on the site to facilitate those groups, such as classrooms, studio and workshop space, gyms and accommodation can then link to other activities within the precinct, for example, mountain bikes, cycling or general sporting tourism.
“There have been discussions with the local Aboriginal Land Council about running some cultural programs out there.
“Across the road on the lake shore is a proposed visitors’ centre, and there could be space for the Indigenous community to have a role there, so there are some wonderful advantages by combining it all [the precinct] as one.”
Orange City Council Economic Development Policy Committee chair, Cr Tony Mileto, said the plan involved a tremendous number of business opportunities.
“One of the functions of a visitors’ centre could be as a place to book into a tour of the region, cultural tours run by local Indigenous people, or food and wine tours, so there’s a number of ways they could operate as a standalone business or tie into others,” he said.
“A boat shed is proposed to take some of the aquatic vehicles closer to the shoreline to give better access, and that will help schools and general accessibility, as well as access to aquatic sports for people with mobility restrictions.”
“But also a standalone boatshed could very much be a business as well, with various rental watercraft there, because it is a wonderful lake to go and have a row or paddle.”
The draft Lake Canobolas Precinct Master Plan is on public exhibition for community comment until Monday 24 May. Following this, the plan will be reported back to Council for adoption.
Copies of the master plan are available to view at Orange City Council or visit the Your Say website to view the master plan, complete a short survey, make a comment or formal submission.