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Mount Panorama or Wahluu? Bathurst council backs dual naming by a single vote

THUMBS UP: Bathurst Regional Council has backed dual naming Mount Panorama “Wahluu”.BATHURST Regional Council has come within a single vote of withdrawing its support for plans to dual name the iconic Mount Panorama in recognition of the area’s original inhabitants.
Nanjing Night Net

The Geographical Names Board is considering a formal request from the Bathurst Local Aboriginal Lands Council for the dual naming of Mount Panorama as “Wahluu” to recognise the land’s original owners.

The GNB has sought public opinion on the proposal and has also asked council to state its position.

And while it had been generally accepted that council was backing the plan, the issue had not been debated within the council chamber before Wednesday night’s policy committee meeting.

Councillors were asked at the meeting to settle on a position to be forwarded to the GNB and support for the plan just scraped through with a 4-3 vote.

Councillors Bobby Bourke, Warren Aubin and Michael Coote voted against supporting the dual naming proposal, with Cr Bourke saying he wanted to hear more from the public before taking a position.

“As a council making a submission to the GNB, it’s very important we get this right,” he said.

“I’m not for or against the idea at this stage, but I know the community is very concerned with anything to do with Mount Panorama and I don’t think we’ve had the input that we need yet.

“I would like to hear from both sides putting forward their arguments for and against this, but it looks to me like the decision has been taken out of our hands.”

Cr Aubin said the feedback he’d received from the community suggested Bathurst did not support the dual naming while Cr Coote, who had previously stated his opposition to the proposal, said the plan had been sprung on councillors out of the blue.

“One of the reasons I spoke out was because I only heard about this three months ago during a working party when the general manager mentioned it,” he said. “I was dumbfounded.”

But Cr Monica Morse led the case for supporting the dual naming, saying it was a chance to recognise indigenous culture as the region prepares for its bicentenary next year.

Cr Morse said council must accept it had not done a good job of communicating the ramifications of dual naming Mount Panorama which had led to unwarranted concerns among motor racing fans, in particular.

“I think we haven’t been very good at explaining that the Mount Panorama racing track will not change,” Cr Morse said.

“If we look at the rules for dual naming we see that it does not apply to infrastructure, roads, bridges or other built features.

“So the circuit, the pits and everything associated with motor racing will retain that much-treasured name of Mount Panorama.”

But Cr Morse said Mount Panorama, as a geographical feature, was much more than just a race track and it was the whole area that would carry the dual name of Wahluu.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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