THE fact Bathurst Regional Council is even considering developing a tourist park in the shadows of Mount Panorama shows just how far our region has come in recent years in terms of attracting people to our town.
The Bathurst 1000 has long been the number one drawcard, filling every hotel room, motel room and even private rentals within a 100km of Bathurst on the second weekend in October.
And justas significanthas been the concentrated effort over the past decade or so to change the public perception of the Bathurst 1000.
Where once it was an annual pilgrimage that attracted only beer-soaked young men, organisers have worked hard to make it a much more family-friendly event.
And they have been successful.
There has been a noticeable increase in the number of women and children on the Mountain during recent Bathurst 1000s and that has made the race a far more valuable –and marketable –asset for the region.
So the changing face of the Bathurst 1000 fan has played a role in highlightingthe need for more accommodation options in the region and a tourist park would certainly fit the bill.
Council has already considered the tourist park proposal during a working party last month and will now explore the option of setting aside up to $7 million in next year’s budget towards developing the facility.
We’re still a long way from seeing the first sod of soil turned but council has already earmarked a site on College Road and investigations over the next few months will consider a mix of serviced caravan sites, serviced campsites and permanent cabins that would be snapped up in just moments for race weekend.
But that’s still just one weekend a year. The key to ensuring the viability of such a development is offering enough attractions over the rest of the year to fill the rooms –and Bathurst is increasinglywell placed there as well.
The development of an international standard BMX track, the establishment of a new home for harness racing and plans to build a second Mount Panorama circuit to increase racing options means the city has more to offer than ever.
A new tourist park is far from a done deal at this stage and there is still plenty for council to explore.
But the fact we’re even looking at it is a great credit to what our region has to offer.
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