Proposed rail trails in the ACT region have the potential to bring in millions of dollars through cycle-tourism, and establish healthy, sustainable and active communities in their areas.
A recent report in the Canberra Times highlighted the benefits that a rail trail could bring to communities along a 150km long rail line between Queanbeyan and Bombala.
A small group from the area has been working on raising funds for a feasibility study. They estimate that the trail could bring at least $15 million annually to surrounding communities, and have based these projections – and the proposed development – on the famed Otago rail trail in New Zealand.
Group spokesperson and small business owner Will Jardine of Nimmitabel told the Canberra Times that a bike trail along the route would be “the saviour of this region”.
Mr Jardine said benefits of the Queanbeyan to Bombala bike trail would include the obvious health and fitness factors, but would also be a safer option taking cyclists off the main trucking freight corridor to Canberra. It could also piggyback off the recent international status of Canberra Airport.
Pedal Power ACT supports the concept of rail trails in our region, and has recently become a member of the Wagga Rail Trail organisation. The Wagga Rail Trail is a proposed 21km sealed, off-road trail connecting Wagga Wagga CBD with the village of Ladysmith.
The group hopes that the trail will be developed along the disused Wagga to Tumbarumba Rail corridor, linking Wagga with Equex, Governor’s Hill, Brunslea Park, Forest Hill, the RAAF Base and Ladysmith. They propose that the trail will be used not only for cycling, and not only by tourists – it will primarily connect the local community who can use it for walking, running, cycling and getting to and from home, work and community facilities.