From Mary to the Bay: New grant to assess rail trail
FOR David Jurss the looming feasibility study of the Mary to the Bay Rail Trail couldn't come soon enough.
The local retiree has been a campaigner for the proposed trail from Maryborough to Hervey Bay for more than a decade and knows all too well the dangers of cyclists riding on the road.
Mr Jurss told the Chronicle it was only three weeks ago a fellow Fraser Coast Bay Bicycle User Group member was hit by a car suffering multiple breaks in her leg.
Fraser Coast Regional Council received a $66,000 grant from the Department of Transport and Main Roads to conduct a feasibility study of the trail following the former rail line between the two towns.
"I've been trying to promote the trail for 12 years,” Mr Jurss said.
"Cycling on highways is dangerous but at the moment there is nowhere else to go.
"The triathlon clubs have a lot of juniors who would love to train off the road on a sealed surface not to damage their race bikes.
"When the rail line was pulled up council kept the bridges which will save a lot of cost in the long run.”
The rail trail as it exists currently is known by two names.
The 13.5km section through Hervey Bay from the Urangan Pier to Nikenbah is known as the Link Mobility Corridor and the 3.5km section from the edge of the city to Stockyard Creek in Takura is the start of the Mary to Bay Rail Trail.
Mr Jurss would love the long-term plan to emulate bike plans in Victoria for a strong tourism drive in the region.
"In the future it would be great to have people hire bikes in Hervey Bay and ride to Maryborough for the markets stopping off at the Nikenbah coffee shop along the way,” he said.
"Then there could be a bus back to the bay for them with a little bike trailer attached.”
Mr Jurss enthusiasm was echoed by local business owner Aggie Riley, from Hervey Bay Bike Hire.
"I'm all for it, it sounds like a great idea,” she said.