The extension of the North East Recreation Trail is closer to fruition with the announcement of renewed Australian Government funding of $1.47 million.
Member for Bass Bridget Archer made the announcement on her Facebook site today.
“I have been working tirelessly over the past 12 months to keep the rail trail funding after the original funding agreement with the Dorset Council had lapsed due to the neccessary additional time needed to consult with the community,” Mrs Archer said.
“This funding supports job creation and tourism, which is more important than ever, particularly as the region looks to recover from the economic challenges of COVID-19.
“A big thank you to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack MP for working with me to deliver these much needed funds to the North East region,” she said.
Legislation to allow Dorset Council to become the corridor manager was passed by the parliament last year so the next step in the process is for the council to lodge and approve a development application for the work.
A local resident who opposes the rail trail extension has said he would take legal action against the project, so if he did go ahead with that it could further delay completion of the trail.
Bicycle Network has been a strong supporter of the disused rail line being converted into a shared path for locals and visitors to enjoy.
Tasmanian Public Affairs Manager, Alison Hetherington, said it was great to see the Australian Government listening to the community and acknowledging the health, social and economic benefits of the trail extenson.
“Longer shared trails can provide tourism benefits to regional towns and have been very successful where they’ve been created in Victoria and New Zealand,” Ms Hetherington said.
“But they also create opportunities for residents to use the trail to get around their local area and exercise.
“Once this extension is built, we’d love to see the trail join up with the new Branxholm to Derby trail to create a truly memorable Tasmanian cycling experience for riders aged 8 to 80.
“If the rail group can get a regular passenger train running on the line between Coldwater Creek and Lilydale Falls then riders could choose to ride that with their bike for the first leg of their journey.
"If the rail group fails to get a train up and running, then it opens the possibility for the rail trail to extend through to Launceston,” Ms Hetherington said.