MEDIA RELEASE – DAVID LEWIS – CANDIDATE FOR DIVISION SIX, FRASER COAST R C
1 January 2016
GETTING THE RAIL TRAIL BACK ON TRACK
Division six candidate David Lewis is keen to revive plans for establishment of a bike path along the now disused rail corridor between Maryborough and Hervey Bay.
Mr Lewis spent part of New Year’s Day inspecting sections of the corridor with members of Hervey Bay’s Bicycle Users Group (BUG) including president Dennis Johnson, and has been in consultation with two of the BUG’s architects of the scheme, David Jurss and David McLeod.
“I’ve always been a fan of the proposal,” Mr Lewis said, “and after getting the chance to look at it more closely, for me it ticks all the boxes. It provides a sporting amenity that a large cross-section of the community can use, it will promote a healthy lifestyle, and it will be an important part of our tourist infrastructure.
“Furthermore, it will provide a safe cycling option between our two major cities. I am acutely aware of the safety aspects, especially as the road gets busier each year.
“The trail can be developed so that families can enjoy riding or hiking parts of it, to take in scenery that isn’t presently accessible, so it will provide a recreational facility for those who aren’t able to ride the whole distance.”
Mr Lewis said that rail trails like the Wangaratta – Bright trail in Victoria attracted about 50,000 riders a year. “This is a significant tourist drawcard,” he said.
One of the advantages of this proposal is that the engineering plans have already been developed, and the work can start as soon as funding can be found. “If elected I will be urging the council to facilitate funding applications from State and Federal governments. While the total project is not cheap, it can be developed in stages and savings may be possible by using crushed granite rather than sealed surfaces.
“The Urraween to Nikenbah section is very nearly at a stage where it could be used now, and it wouldn’t cost much to have it finished. Other sections can be completed as funding becomes available.
“Another consideration is that the sporting complex is likely to be delayed, and while the two projects aren’t in competition, the bike trail can be tackled immediately and at much less cost, with all the attendant health, recreation and tourist benefits,” Mr Lewis concluded.