The main image above is by John Brauers, & is stamped on line near Taragoola
Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail Inc. has progressed its aims and aspirations considerably in a short time, with co-operation and good will shown by many.
At the moment we await the outcome of a $99000 feasibility study for real guidelines to take us further forward.
The support expressed from a wide range of individuals, community groups, Regional and State Government demonstrates a willingness for the project to succeed. The State Government has shown leadership and forethought through the Queensland Cycling Action Plan 2017-2019. It has an action area for investing in cycle tourism which aims to:
‘Publish a discussion paper about developing long distance bicycle touring routes in Queensland, identifying opportunities and taking into consideration national and international best practice.’
While cyclists will undoubtedly be major users of the Trail, horse riders and bush-walkers look forward to using it as well.
The economic benefits for communities along the Trail will be considerable.
Presumption – the feasibility study produces a positive result.
The Trail should be able to be developed over time. Possibly, some sections may be done before others, however the aim should be to work towards developing a Trail from Gayndah to Calliope.
While the State has allocated considerable funds for developing rail trails, Regional Government has expressed doubt about being able to fund the Trail long term.
Enthusiastic local communities will be able to contribute by seeking funds from various sources.
There are working precedents where tourism operators pay to access key attractions.
Funding support from the private sector needs to be investigated.
Regional Government can often win funding for projects from various sources.
Federal Government funding is an ongoing possibility.
However, all the enthusiasm to do this will come to nought if a workable, long term funding strategy is not developed.
Ad-hoc measures may lead to failure. Budget planning and support over years is needed. This will help spread the costs. With the enthusiasm and support openly expressed by so many interested parties, the time to start this process is now.
Waiting for the feasibility study to complete, and then trying to solve the funding problem may defeat all good intentions.
While BBIRT Inc. may be the minnow in this process, it can be the catalyst in developing a way forward.
The first step will be for BBIRT Inc. to define a list of interested parties, and then facilitate meetings to progress funding and co-operative management of the Trail.
With goodwill from all concerned, the project will succeed.
Letters to start this process are about to be sent out.