Community views are being sought next week on the feasibility of establishing a recreation trail on the disused railway between Merriwa and Sandy Hollow, and potentially on to Denman.
The Upper Hunter Shire Council and Muswellbrook Shire Council have jointly commissioned a feasibility study in response to the NSW Government’s 2014 announcement of funding for the development of rail trails in NSW.
Community Members are invited to drop in and discuss the potential project at ‘open houses’ in Sandy Hollow and Merriwa on Tuesday 11 August and Denman on Wednesday 12 August.
Rail trails as they are known, have a long history in the USA and the first Australian rail trail was developed in Western Australia over 25 years ago.
There are now over 100 rail trails in Australia, built primarily on publicly owned land. They bring numerous benefits to host communities and are a vital piece of community infrastructure. They are designed for non-motorised users such as cyclists, walkers, runners, parents pushing prams, horse riders and people in wheelchairs. They can also be used for events such as fun runs.
Rail trails offer safe, flat routes away from dangerous roads and through a range of landscapes. Many rail trail users, particularly family groups, enjoy walking or cycling away from traffic.
The feasibility study to investigate the practical potential challenges and benefits from developing the rail trail, is being undertaken by consultants, Mike Halliburton Associates and Transplan Pty Ltd. The study includes assessing the works required to develop the rail trail, the costs associated with the construction and the potential economic and other benefits that the trail would bring to the region and users of the trail.
The feasibility study consultants will host the ‘open houses’ and representatives of the two councils will also be there to discuss the potential rail trail project.
‘Open houses’ for the rail trail feasibility study will be held at:
- Sandy Hollow – 9.00am – 11.00am, Tuesday 11 August at Sandy Hollow Hall.
- Merriwa – 2.00pm– 7.00pm, Tuesday 11 August at Merriwa RSL Club.
- Denman – 2.00pm– 7.00pm, Wednesday 12 August at Denman Memorial Hall.
For further information contact Upper Hunter Shire Council Manager Business Enterprise and Tourism Sean Constable on 6540 1135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.