A 12-MONTH campaign to block a go-kart track planned for the top of Mount Panorama has been a success with Environment Minister Sussan Ley ordering the site on Mount Panorama cannot be developed.
Ms Ley has made the declaration to protect an area in McPhillamy Park under section 10 of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 (ATSIHP Act).
The protection order will take effect from Wednesday, May 5 and remain in place for 10 years.
In a statement on Monday afternoon, Ms Ley said the declaration would protect the site from the proposed construction of buildings and significant earthworks while also protecting the existing public use of the land for recreation, camping and as open space.
The protection order means a $4.5 million go-kart track proposed by Bathurst Regional Council cannot go ahead on the site earmarked for it.
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"I am satisfied that the area identified at the top of Mount Panorama/Wahluu, one that helps define the iconic shape of the mountain top, is culturally significant and should be protected under the ATSIHP Act," Ms Ley said.
"In making this declaration, it is important to also address some of the issues that have been raised in a passionate community debate.
"The declaration covers a reduced area than that previously sought. It does not, and nor did the applicant seek to, prevent existing motor racing, existing sporting and recreational activities or other public activities on the Mountain.
"It acknowledges the cultural significance Mount Panorama/Wahluu has for the Wiradyuri people, in contributing to local Aboriginal narratives, songlines, ceremonies and cultural heritage."
Ms Ley said the section 10 order balanced the public use of the area against protecting its heritage value.
"I have met with people from all sides in Bathurst, and reviewed all reports and submissions and there are earnestly held views on all sides that I respect," she said.
"The initial report did recognise the cultural significance of the site to the Wiradyuri and further submissions and consultation with a number of parties strengthened my views about the significance of the site.
"I strongly hope that the Bathurst Regional Council can continue to explore options for a go-kart track which seems to have significant support if it were to be placed at another location than the top of the Mountain."
Bathurst Regional Council general manager David Sherley said council was disappointed with the decision.
"Council has received a copy of the minister's decision in relation to a Section 10 being placed on the area identified as being for the go-kart track project on Mount Panorama-Wahluu," Mr Sherley said.
"Council is seeking advice to investigate the full ramifications of the Section 10. While council is disappointed in the decision, we will abide by that ruling at this time.
"Council notes that neither our own commissioned reports or the minister's commissioned report indicated that a section 10 should be placed on the site."
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