Artists impression of rail trail.
Artists impression of rail trail.

Key development plan for Mary to Bay Rail Trail approved

CYCLISTS will soon have an easier connection between the Heritage and Whale Cities after the the council adopted the Mary to Bay Rail Trail development plan.

Funding will now be sourced from State and Federal Government grants in order to build the $13 million cyclist corridor connecting the two Fraser Coast cities following a unanimous motion at Wednesday's council meeting.

Concept designs reveal the path will be a shared 48km track following the old rail line between Hervey Bay and Maryborough.

Certain stages of the project, including a 13.5km track from Urangan Pier to Nikenbah and another 3.5km section from Piggford Ln to Stockyard Creek, have already been constructed.

Councillor Zane O'Keefe said the trail development plan clearly set out the work needed to complete the remaining track and its estimated cost.

"The feasibility study indicated that there is community support for the project and that it could inject $3.2 million a year into the local economy by attracting an additional 15,000 visitors annually," Cr O'Keefe said.

"Rail trails are proving to be tourism draw-cards across the country and internationally, while it would also benefit locals who want to explore the great outdoors."

Yesterday's motion comes follows the Bundaberg Regional Council endorsing their own rail trail linking Gin Gin and the Rum City.

The initial feasibility study, funded with a $66,000 grant from the Department of Transport and Main Roads, was endorsed by councillors in April.

UNDER DEVELOPMENT: A proposed map of one of the sections of the Mary to Bay Rail Trail. The development phase was approved by councillors at Wednesday's meeting.
A proposed map of one of the sections of the rail trail. Contributed

Cyclists in the region have repeatedly raised the need for the trail in order to safely travel between the two towns without fear of injury.

Council workers will start negotiations with landowners to secure sections of the route outside of the former rail line.