The current NSW budget (2015/16) only has funding earmarked for the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail which the state views as a pilot program. It is not clear how the state will proceed with other proposed rail trails. Our strategy is to have our completed feasibility study ready to go when the state announces the next rounds of applications.
The cost estimate is about $45,000 – $50,000; however, the scoping study to be delivered by students from the University of Sydney will contribute some of the requirements so the cost may be about $30,000. We would expect to have the feasibility study completed within several months of obtaining funding.
Consultants will be hired to document the design. Consultation with Palerang Council staff will be crucial. The cost for the development plan is estimated to be $50,000 – $55,000 and it is expected to take four months to complete. We expect state funding to cover the cost of the development plan.
We would allow one to two years for construction. There is one bridge over the Molonglo River which is in good shape and several culverts, all concrete. Fencing may be required for most of the trail, especially the sections going through grazing properties. Depending on landowner preferences, it may be necessary to re-route a couple of short sections of the rail line that pass within 60m of houses. Connections from the towns of Captains Flat, Hoskinstown and Bungendore to the rail trail will need to be developed.
A rough cost estimate for construction using figures from the 2007 Australian Tourism Development Program application, and adjusting for inflation, is about $4 million for a gravel based trail and connections to Bungendore, Hoskinstown and Captains Flat. Included would be fencing, gates, signage at all access points and at points of interest, several toilets, car parking and planting of trees and shrubs.
A long term plan for maintenance of the rail trail will be developed. Fundraising opportunities are highlighted in the business plan that will cover long term maintenance costs. A trail maintenance committee will be essential to oversee regular work and will work closely with Palerang Council. Experience from other rail trails shows that such a strategy is workable. Our community has experience maintaining a network of greenways used by walkers, cyclists and equestrians for over 22 years.