A multi-use rail trail for walking, bike-riding and horse-riding may be part of the road ahead for Mount Morgan as initial work on a feasibility study gets on track.
The feasibility study is expected to be completed by the end of the year, with the $250,000 project to be funded by the Queensland Government.
Rockhampton Region Mayor, Tony Williams said the study would determine whether the proposed trail had merit.
“We’re looking at a trail that would begin at the Mount Morgan rail station and then end in either the township of Kabra or Gracemere,” Mayor Williams said.
“The feasibility study is still in the very early stages at this point. We don’t yet have enough information to determine whether or not the project is likely to proceed beyond the feasibility stage.
“Engineers have done as much of the initial desktop planning as they can. Now our contractor, Burchills Engineering Solutions, has hit the ground to get a better idea of any issues that could arise and identify the best route.
“Once we have more of an idea of what is possible we’ll be heading out to the community to seek feedback, which will form an important part of the process.”
The trail was one of the key projects identified in Council’s ‘Advancing Mount Morgan’ strategy, which was adopted in November 2019, and is designed to support business, create opportunities for employment and education, and unlock the tourism potential of this historic township.
Member for Rockhampton, Barry O’Rourke said the opportunity for a rail trail in the region could potentially unlock jobs in construction and tourism as well as new opportunities for local business.
“Across our region we’ve seen biking and walking infrastructure attract people from all corners of the state, spending money at local cafes and shops, accommodation providers and other tourism operators,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“This is an exciting opportunity to look at what might be possible when it comes to a rail trail in this area, and how it could potentially play a role in our region’s economic recovery alongside major projects like the $75 million Capricorn Highway duplication.”
Division 5 Councillor, Cherie Rutherford said she looked forward to seeing the feasibility study progress.
“One of the key areas identified in the Advancing Mount Morgan strategy was the need to unlock the tourism potential of Mount Morgan’s multiple natural and historic assets,” Cr Rutherford said.
“This is a strategy that was produced after extensive community consultation, including roundtables and surveys, and it’s a real pleasure to see yet another of the projects identified through this process start to be investigated.
“I do want to emphasise that while it’s exciting that we have received funding to undertake this feasibility study, these are very early investigations.
“Once we have more information about the feasibility of the project we’ll be seeking feedback from the community.”