The Australian Government has pledged $4.8 million for the unfinished sections of the North West Coastal Pathway between Sulphur Creek and Latrobe, joining local government commitments.
The Cradle Coast Authority* had requested the three levels of government each provide $4.8 million to complete the sections of the pathway.
The announcement means the state government is the only level of government yet to pledge funding for those sections of the pathway.
Once the state government comes to the party it will leave just one section of the pathway to be designed and funded, between Burnie and Heybridge.
The Tasmanian Government and local councils have already provided funding for the section of path between Wynyard and Cooee.
Construction on this section has been held up by a land transfer from TasRail. However, legislation to allow this may be introduced in the next few months, which would allow construction to go ahead later this year.
Designs for some of the sections between Sulphur Creek and Latrobe have not yet been confirmed.
Of concern to Bicycle Network is a roughly 4km section of path between Penguin and Ulverstone which may be relegated to the road. This could be detrimental to attracting people with a wide range of abilities and ignores people who want to walk the pathway.
Any movement of people onto the road would need to be accompanied by the lowering of the speed limit to 30km to make it a safe enough environment to not deter younger and older riders. Good signage and line marking would also help to show other road users bicycles have priority through this short section.
While it is understandable this is being proposed because of the difficult topography of high, unstable cliffs and very narrow roadway, it would be ideal to have other options that may be more expensive but would be more user-friendly.
The roadway option could be implemented to complete the pathway initially, but with a commitment to build a safer, shared pathway down the track.
Building the full pathway between Wynyard and Latrobe has the potential to bring tourists to the north-west for multiple days to ride or walk the path.
It is also an important facility for local residents who just want to easily and comfortably travel between the coastal towns.
Bicylcle Network looks forward to the state government providing a share of funding to allow the pathway to proceed.
For more detailed information about the different sections of the pathway, visit www.cradlecoast.com.
*The Cradle Coast Authority is the regional representative body of nine local councils: City of Burnie, Central Coast Council, Circular Head Council, Devonport Ciyt Council, Kentish Council, King Island Council, Latrobe Council, Waratah Wynyard Council, and West Coast Council.