Two RTA representatives attended the “Western Region Bicycle Forum” at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo on Tuesday 10th May.
The Forum was well attended by approximately 40 people, with a mix of Transport for NSW (TfNSW) representatives, local councils, Cycle Clubs, BUG reps, University professors, and other bicycle minded people.
TfNSW was the convener, and the forum was well run by the MC Jacqueline Anderson.
The official opening and welcome was conducted by the Mayor of the Dubbo Regional Council, Mathew Dickerson.
John O’Brien, one of the RTA regional representatives for NSW, gave the opening presentation on Rail Trails in Australia, and particularly the problems encountered in NSW with rail trail construction. Part of his focus was the economic benefits that rail trails bring to the nearby communities. The presentation finished with a screening of our excellent Tumbarumba to Rosewood video. All the participants were very impressed with the video, and there were many and varied questions following the screening.
Sam Reich, one of the committee members of RTA assisted with the presentation and was also able to answer many of the questions asked.
This was followed with a presentation by fellow RTA member Kathy Furney, on the Tracker Riley Cycleway in Dubbo. This is a 13 km cycleway loop that follows the Macquarie River on both sides and runs in part within the disused Dubbo to Molong Railway corridor for approx. 3km. A slide show illustrated the various stages of construction, and in particular the new cycle bridge adjacent to the large steel truss railway bridge over the Macquarie River.
We were encouraged by a presentation from Ian Jordan (Project Manager Corridor Renewal & Activation) from TfNSW, who indicated that TfNSW now recognised that Rail Trails are a viable use of disused railway lines. He is trying to develop a new streamlined process to help standardise the procedures involved to build a Rail Trail. The success of the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail has opened the eyes of the Government, and highlighted how good they are for tourism and local economies.
Maybe some of the hard work by rail trail advocates is finally starting to pay off!