The challenge of shaping the future of Mount Panorama while also respecting its past is becoming an increasingly difficult juggling act.
Thousands of years before the Mount became the spiritual home of Australian motorsport it was known as Wahluu and was a spiritual home for the local Wiradyuri people.
That long history was largely neglected for almost two centuries following European settlement of the Bathurst region but, largely through the work of Wiradyuri elders, it has been given much greater prominence in recent years. And rightly so.
What that has also meant, however, is that any new development on the Mount has to be viewed through a prism of indigenous cultural heritage that has not been the case in the past, and it has not been an easy leap for the broader community to make.
The controversy over the siting of a new go-kart track at the top of the Mount has provided the most visible struggle between the Mount’s past and its future and, even now, that situation does not feel like it has been satisfactorily resolved.
And just last week we saw a heated discussion in council about the use of “site cards” on the Mount by local indigenous leaders to identify an area of cultural significance.
Councillor Warren Aubin suggested the cards were being used to “antagonise” council as they could impact on the progress of proposed developments on the Mount.
The discussion highlighted the suspicions held by both sides of the debate about the actions of the others and showed just how far we have to go to achieve true reconciliation in our community.
But these are never easy conversations and it is always difficult to find some middle ground. But we must keep trying.
Hopefully, then, the development of a new $2 million boardwalk across the top of the Mount will do more to bring disparate cultures together than drive them apart.
While it is primarily a safety feature to get pedestrians off the road, it will also include interpretive signage that can tell many of the stories of the Mount.
It can tell the stories of the Mount’s motor racing past alongside its cultural past.
It can never heal all wounds but any step taken together is a step worth taking.
And that long walk together must start with all sides of the debate committing to a spirit of co-operation rather than continuing a spirit of confrontation.