THE ongoing Mount Panorama go-kart track debate is coming to a close following legal proceedings in the NSW Supreme Court.
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The Wiradyuri Traditional Owners Central West Aboriginal Corporation (WTOCWAC) and Bathurst Regional Council have announced that they have agreed to resolve the NSW Supreme Court proceedings that were commenced by the traditional owners in March, 2021.
They released a joint statement on Friday, November 11.
In the court proceedings, the traditional owners sought orders from the court that the WTOCWAC is the holder of a profit a prendre by prescription over a portion of land on Mount Panorama Wahluu, and that the council be restrained permanently from under taking works on that land that substantially interfere with the profit a prendre asserted.
On April 30, 2021, the Federal Environment Minister made a declaration under section 10 of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act, which, in substance, declared part of the land to be a significant Aboriginal area that is to be preserved and protected from injury or desecration in a manner set out in section six of the declaration.
While the terms of the settlement will remain confidential, they include:
"The WTOCWAC and council look forward to working together in the future, including to continue to preserve Mount Panorama Wahluu for the benefit and use of the public," the two parties said in the joint statement.
The history of the go-kart track project at the top of Mount Panorama goes back nearly a decade.
It was in January, 2015 that it became publicly known that the mountain was being considered as a location for the track, with a development application (DA) being lodged six months later.
The DA was approved in September, 2015 following public consultation.
In June, 2016 council received a modification proposal to extend the length of the track.
The following May, the Wiradyuri elders appeared in the Western Advocate stating that they were not consulted about the go-kart track before the initial DA was approved in 2015.
They opposed the location and continued to do so more vehemently as the years went on, with many community members supporting their stance.
Despite the elders' concerns, council agreed to modify the proposal in December, 2018, which would permit the track to be built to international standard.
Following the Federal Environment Minister's decision in 2021, council had to abandon its go-kart track plans for the proposed site on land at the back of McPhillamy Park.
Council is now investigating the potential of building a go-kart track on another Mount Panorama site, adjacent to Conrod Straight.
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