The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party [SFF] has pledged its support for a push to re-open the Bridle Track, which has been closed for more than eight years.
Members of the Bridle Track Action Group [BTAG] met with SFF candidate for Bathurst Brenden May and NSW Legislative Council member Robert Borsak on Tuesday to hand over a report outlining their key recommendations for fixing the track.
In 2010, the Bridle Track was closed after a landslide at Monaghan’s Bluff caused a large boulder to block the road.
While the boulder was found to have been removed due to a tip-off from an anonymous trail bike rider, Bathurst Regional Council said earlier this month that the road was still closed.
In September last year, Member for Bathurst Paul Toole pledged $2 million towards Bathurst Regional Council to investigate options for reopening the road.
But Mr May has taken Mr Toole to task over the time it has taken to commence action on the Bridle Track.
“The Bridle Track was closed when Mr Toole was mayor of Bathurst, so he’s known about this issue for a long time,” he said.
“Mr Toole only took an interest in this issue after the SFF announced its candidate for the seat of Bathurst.”
According to Mr Borsak, who has been a member of the NSW Legislative Council since 2010, the SFF first raised the issue of the Bridle Track with the state government in 2011.
“We had a promise from former Minister for Roads Duncan Gay that funding would be secured to fix the track, but we’ve seen nothing happen,” he said.
“The incumbent Minister for Roads, Melinda Pavey, was also approached about the track, but she wasn’t interested in listening to us.”
Regardless of the outcome at the upcoming NSW state election, Mr May said the SFF will continue to pursue the issue in state parliament.
“We hold the balance of power in both houses of state parliament, which means that we're in the position to hold the sitting government accountable to the promises they make,” he said.
“Reopening the Bridle Track will bring campers and four-wheel drive enthusiasts back to the area, providing another avenue for tourism in Bathurst.”
Mr Toole said the SFF had "come late to the party" on the Bridle Track.
"The NSW Government has already given $2 million to the local council to reopen the Bridle Track," he said.
"This just clearly shows that the SFF is ill-informed on the issue."
Mr Toole said investigations were under way to find an alternative route around Monaghan's Bluff, including talks with local land owners about possible acquisitions.