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.
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. Contributed

Rail Trail could drive $3.2M a year, says councillor

A PROPOSED rail trail between Maryborough and Hervey Bay would pump millions of tourism dollars into the local economy per year, a Fraser Coast councillor claims.

With the first feasibility study concluded, the Fraser Coast Regional Council has started planning for the designs, work lists and costs for the Mary to Bay Rail Trail's development plan.

A motion to push ahead with the development was carried at Wednesday's council meeting.

The 43km trail would use the old rail corridor from Colton to Urangan, giving cyclists and pedestrians easier access between the two Fraser Coast towns.

Initial estimations price the development of the rail trail at about $12 million.

Councillor David Lewis said there was evidence the development of the trail would inject more than $3.2 million into the economy per year by attracting about 15,000 visitors.

"Rail trails in other areas across Australia are drawing tourists as the popularity of cycling, especially among older Australians, increases.

"Finishing the trail to link Hervey Bay and Maryborough would provide a safe link between the two cities for cyclists, walkers and runners away from the highway, while also delivering a boost for our local tourism industry.”

Both the feasibility study and the trail development plan are being funded by the State Government.

The development plan will be presented to another council meeting later this year.