Picnic plan 'risky'

Friends of Hanging Rock has described council's plan to develop picnic shelters in the East Paddock as potentially detrimental to the site's future. 

The friends group has called for Macedon Ranges Council to postpone any decision on the shelters, which would be visible from eastern viewpoints, until management plans are in place.

Council recently sought community feedback on draft concept designs for two new picnic shelters as part of upgrades to support picnicking and events in the East Paddock.

Meanwhile, council is preparing an environmental management plan for the reserve and the State Government is undertaking a detailed review of Hanging Rock's management. 

"The outcomes of this review are likely to have major implications for any future development at Hanging Rock, while the implications of the environment plan are not yet known," explained Friends of Hanging Rock president, Nathan Alexander. 

Mr Alexander said it was risky to plan for new infrastructure during the current state of uncertainty for Hanging Rock.

"We support development of the East Paddock for both recreation and conservation purposes. However ... commenting on the design detail of the shelters at this time is inappropriate and distracts from the key issues that need management and community attention," he said. 

Council defended its progress on the picnic shelters as part of a 32-year-old management plan. 

"The development of picnic facilities in the East Paddock will bring to fruition aspirations of nearly 40 years ago that were further identified in the 1993 Hanging Rock Management Plan to take usage pressure away from the sensitive environment around the Rock," a spokesperson said. 

"Neither (of the) current investigations have indicated any reason as to why the aspiration to draw usage pressure away from the sensitive environment near the Rock would not continue to be pursued."

Council indicated against postponing the picnic shelters' design and development.

"The review and completion and implementation of the Environmental Management Plan are likely to take some time, and the shelter and other associated works are linked to funding obligations with the Australian Government," the spokesperson said.

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