A PANEL has been installed on the Bathurst region's famous Bridle Track to mark, according to residents, "15 years of council neglect".
Bathurst mayor Graeme Hanger, however, says negotiations with property owners are continuing in regards to an alternative route for the track, though he has not provided a timeframe for when a design will be finalised.
The Bridle Track was closed in 2010 after a landslide at Monaghan's Bluff and residents on the route have since kept up the pressure on council and state Member for Bathurst Paul Toole to have it reopened.
Council received $2 million from the NSW Government last year to investigate options to get the road reopened and council says an alternative route has since been identified bypassing Monaghan's Bluff and negotiations have started in regard to land acquisitions.
But Bridle Track residents remain frustrated.
Steve Alexander from the Bridle Track Action Group said residents have installed a metal tribute panel on the rock face beside the road at Bruinbun, about halfway along the track, to "acknowledge the last leader of local government who took a genuine interest in, and actually visited, the Bridle Track, the 2004 Administrator of Bathurst, Kath Knowles".
"She was a great administrator and, sadly, died far too young," Mr Alexander said.
"We believe this sign should stay in place on the Bridle Track reminding visitors of the 15 years of council neglect until such time as the Bridle Track is reopened and maintained in good condition as it once was - a two-wheel drive unsealed road link from Bathurst to Hill End."
Mr Alexander said residents had also developed "a new measure of road maintenance neglect - the tennis ball stack".
"It is a simple measure of the depth of washouts of the road surface that can easily be visualised," he said.
Cr Hanger said council had the $2 million provided by the NSW Government for an alternative Bridle Track route, but did not have any further budget allocation for this project identified in the 2019/20 budget.
He said council had carried out gravel resheeting and minor repair work to a gravelled sction of the Bridle Track at a cost of approximately $10,000, from funding provided in this year's Annual Operating Plan/Delivery Plan.