In politics, as in all walks of life, anything can be deemed impossible – until it isn’t.
News that the state government has found $2 million to begin working towards reopening the Bridle Track is a case of good things coming to those who wait.
When a massive rock fall at Monaghan’s Bluff closed the track in 2010, we were told removing the boulder to reopen the track was simply too big a job to be financially viable.
Keen four-wheel-drivers and tourist operators lobbied hard to push their case for a reopening, but their pleas always fell on deaf years.
Year after year the item would be discussed by Bathurst Regional Council as part of its budget planning and year after year it would be rejected. Now, however, the goalposts have clearly moved.
Bathurst MP Paul Toole announced on Monday that $2 million in funding would be made available to Bathurst Regional Council to explore a range of options to enable vehicles to once again complete the 60 kilometre journey.
“The Bridle Track is a favourite with four-wheel-drive enthusiasts, campers and anglers and is an example of how heritage tourism can benefit the region,” Mr Toole said.
“Reopening the Bridle Track brings with it significant economic benefits to the region, including the village of Hill End, and I know this morning’s announcement will be welcomed by many people.”
Well, he was half right as the announcement prompted a pretty even mix of bouquets and brickbats on social media.
The cynics noted that Mr Toole was mayor of Bathurst when the Bridle Track and has been the local member for almost two full terms of government with no evident progress being made.
They also pointed to a state election in just six months’ time as the likely reason that some action is being taken now now.
On the other hand, though, those who have spent the past eight years arguing the case for reopening the track have welcomed to the announcement with open arms.
They are not too interested in what ulterior motive might be at work. Their only interest is in getting the chance to again drive one of the great scenic tracks in the Central West.
They’re not quite back on track yet, but they’re much closer now than at any time in the past eight years.