WHILE some think the writing is on the wall, others are not convinced that Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley will put a permanent protection order on an area within McPhillamy Park.
On Wednesday, the minister released a statement with an update on her deliberations regarding a Section 10 declaration for the proposed site for a go-kart track.
She extended her emergency declaration to protect the site for a further 30 days, giving her time to consult on a more lasting declaration to protect indigenous heritage.
Ms Ley said she has drafted a potential declaration.
"It is one that recognises the significance of the site to Traditional Owners, but which also ensures the current usage of Mount Panorama/Wahluu as a racing venue, and as a venue for camping and other activities is preserved," she said.
Councillor Jacqui Rudge said that she wasn't surprised by the minister's comments.
"I think the minister has tried to be fair to the Wiradyuris and I also think she is trying to be reasonable with the importance of motor racing [on Mount Panorama]," she said.
Cr Rudge wouldn't comment on what decision she thinks the minister will make, but said she has sympathy for the Bathurst Kart Club.
"I certainly feel for the go-kart club and I'm happy to work with them and the Wiradyuris - which they have asked us to do - to work out a location for a go-kart track," she said.
She is open to the idea of putting the kart track in the second circuit precinct if the project can't go ahead in McPhillamy Park.
That idea is something Cr Jess Jennings is pushing for, as he is now "reasonably confident" a permanent protection order will eventuate.
"It'll help activate the second circuit," he said.
He is also having conversations with council staff to see if a $2.25 million loan can be redirected to other projects, such as the revitalisation of the old TAFE building.
Mayor Bobby Bourke, on the other hand, hasn't interpreted Minister Ley's comments as a definite decision.
He said she has to consult further with the groups involved, including council, and that will be how she makes a determination.
"She hasn't made that final decision. The minister has had it on her table for two years, and I didn't expect to see any urgency on it straight away; I always believed she would take more than the 30 days to look at it, because of the complex issue that it is," Cr Bourke said.
While he's uncertain what the decision will be, he reiterated his concern about the impact a Section 10 declaration could have, saying it had the potential to "affect the whole operation of Mount Panorama".
Traditional owners open to discussions about kart track in second circuit precinct
THE Wiradyuri Traditional Owners group has welcomed an update from Environment Minister Sussan Ley, who indicated she would place a Section 10 declaration on the site of the go-kart track.
Elder Dinawan Dyirribang said he and other elders agreed with what the minister said in the statement she released on Wednesday.
With it looking more likely that the minister will place a permanent protection order on the site, calls are ramping up for a new location to be found for the go-kart track.
The top suggestion is in the second circuit precinct.
Dinawan said the Traditional Owners are, and have always been, open to having those discussions with council and the kart club.
"The main thing is we would be involved in discussions from the very beginning about cultural heritage," he said.
He said that if elders were involved from the start, there would not be any perception that the group is being "obstructive", as he feels has been the case with the site in McPhillamy Park.
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