A DETERMINED crowd of more than 300 people that descended on McPhillamy Park on Sunday evening has vowed to keep fighting to keep the park in public hands.
The picnic was originally organised as a protest against the planned start of work on the city's $4.5 million go-kart track but still went ahead after Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley issued a last-minute protection order for the site last Friday.
The Section 9 order means no work can commence for at least 30 days and Ms Ley will be in Bathurst on Friday to speak with stakeholders before deciding whether to issue a permanent protection order.
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But Friends of McPhillamy Park spokesman Iain McPherson said Sunday's picnic was not a celebration because the park's future remained up in the air.
"We need to have two things to happen before we can all celebrate," Mr McPherson said.
"Firstly, we need permanent Section 10 heritage protection of the top of Mount Panorama.
"Secondly, we all need to come together to identify the best alternative site and build a go-kart track with the [Bathurst Kart Club]."
The picnic featured live music and speeches, including an address from Councillor Jess Jennings.
Mr McPherson said the attendance was further proof of the "widespread and growing opposition" to Bathurst Regional Council's plan to build a go-kart track on public land that has been identified by Wiradyuri elders as a sacred women's site.
"The park was gifted by Lurline and Walter McPhillamy to all the people for public open space more than 80 years ago," Mr McPherson said.
"That gift needs to be protected for now and the future. Once lost, never regained."
Mr McPherson said council risked damaging Bathurst's reputation if it pushes ahead with its plans.
"People across Australia are watching. We can either bring greater credit to Bathurst or we can damage our reputation - it's up to council," he said.
"Wiradyuri elder Dinawan (Bill Allen) welcomed everyone to country and spoke from the heart about the cultural importance of Mount Panorama/Wahluu and the sacred site.
"People came together and expressed their solidarity with the Wiradyuri Traditional Owners for whom it is such a culturally significant area. The Wiradyuri are sharing their cultural heritage with all of us."
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