Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Colong attacks Lithgow Council's failure to consult on Hassans Walls track

Lithgow Council needs to consult with the public on the future of Hassans Walls, its biggest conservation asset.

“Adequate public consultation on developments, such as recently approved mountain bike race track, is essential for public reserves, like Hassans Walls”, said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“Council should also properly consult on the yet-to-be-released reserve management plan for Hassans Walls”, he added.

“Annoyed local conservationists are gathering support that seeks to rescind the Development Approval for the Hassans Walls Mountain Bike Downhill Track. A petition has been prepared asking for proper consultation with the community before the race track proposal is reconsidered,” Mr Muir said.

Council's Environmental Advisory Committee ignored

“Council seems very determined to stay out of touch with conservation management. Lithgow Council has ignored its own Environmental Advisory Committee. This Committee has had no formal involvement on either the Hassans Walls Reserve management plan or the review of the mountain bike development proposal. Council's processes risk damaging the reserve and insults volunteers working on committee for Council to provide environmental advice,” he said.

Mr Muir said that “The endangered purple copper butter fly, Paralucia spinifera , is found on the site andcould be at risk from the downhill mountain bike track system.”

“Public consultation on development in public reserves needs to be comprehensive and adequate. In this case other more appropriate places for this track could be identified or improvements made in the development's design. Competing interests also should be identified and the environment protected. These are just some of the benefits of public consultation on reserve management and development, given by citizens to council for free. All council has to do is engage the public interest,” he said.

Lithgow Council's siege mentality on environmental issues must end. I appeal to Council to lift its game on community consultation, particularly in regard to the management and future use of the public's reserves under its care,” Mr Muir said.

For more information contact: Keith Muir , (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404 (mob)