WEDDINGS and general maintenance are being affected as the closure of a prominent city centre park continues. Machattie Park was closed on November 9, 2023 in response to safety concerns about the overwhelming number of flying foxes, also known as bats, roosting in the trees. At peak times, as many as 20,000 flying foxes are estimated to be in the vicinity of the park. Machattie Park is a popular venue for events, both public and private, and plans for both have been derailed. Carols by Candlelight, the community Christmas event, has been relocated to Victoria Park, and Bathurst Regional Council has confirmed that multiple weddings have also been forced to move. "A number of weddings have been cancelled, most all have rescheduled to alternative locations, including Macquarie River Bicentennial Park, Okhuma Gardens, etc," recreation manager Mark Kimbel said. The presence of such large volumes of flying foxes is leading to falling tree branches, presenting a significant safety issue and being the main reason why these events have had to go elsewhere. It has also affected general maintenance activities in the park, with council staff restricted in what they can do for safety reasons. "Maintenance operations, where it is safe to do so, will continue to be undertaken at Machattie Park, with an appropriate risk assessments processes in place, albeit on a much reduced frequency," Mr Kimbel said. Machattie Park is one of Bathurst's pride and joys, which is why council directs a lot of resources towards its upkeep. The extended closure, which could last several months, is likely to have some impact on the overall amenity of the area. "Council's focus is to ensure that any negative impacts of the park's closure is minimised," Mr Kimbel said. "It is anticipated that council will need to undertake additional clean-up activities to the path and lawn areas prior to the reopening of the park." Even though the number of bats in the park has reduced, people should continue to abide by the closure, as the threat of falling limbs remains. "It is highly likely that there are significant numbers of detached branches that are still suspended in the canopy of trees, hidden from the surrounding branches," Mr Kimbel said. "Tree branches are still falling."