OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: The rail tunnel near Many Peaks.
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: The rail tunnel near Many Peaks. Contributed

Councillor warns: Say yes to study, or lose opportunity forever

PRESERVING a historic rail corridor would provide the building blocks to making the Boyne Valley a tourism destination, according to Chris Trevor.

The Gladstone region deputy mayor told colleagues at yesterday's council meeting to think about the potential of Gladstone's hinterland, comparing what it could be to the Sunshine Coast's Montville or Maleny.

Cr Trevor was declaring his support for a feasibility study into preserving parts of the bridges, track and tunnels between Gayndah and Taragoola for a North Burnett Rail Trail.

In a notice of motion, Cr Desley O'Grady recommended the council join the North Burnett Regional Council to apply for the fully funded feasibility study through Queensland Cycling Action Plan.

The study will be used to explore the options and opportunities in utilising the rail corridor from Gayndah to Taragoola.

Cr Trevor said if the council did not apply for the study it would miss out on a major tourism opportunity.

"The track is gone but the opportunity to preserve the tunnels and rails is still there, you say no today and you've lost that opportunity forever," he said.

"I have a little bit of a passion for this particular project because I see it as a building block for tourism.

"In my opinion we need to create a concerted effort to make this project happen to preserve our history."

It is hoped the feasibility study will to give the Boyne Burnett Rail Trail committee the final nod as to whether preserving parts of the bridges and rail between the two regions is viable.

Work has already begun on removing tracks, spikes and sleepers from the corridor, but the group hopes to preserve what is left.

Cr O'Grady said it would be a huge opportunity to create something similar to the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail which attracts 60,000 people every year.

Some councillors raised concerns about whether or not the study was fully funded, and worried about the future ownership of the bridges and rail.

Cr O'Grady said the Queensland Cycling Action Plan told her it would be fully funded, and if that was not the case the council would return to the drawing board.

The QCAP plans to invest $14 million over four years to develop rail trails on disused lines around the state.

Cr O'Grady said the committee, formed by 18 community groups from horse riders to cyclists and bush walkers, would send the State Government a list of the sections of track, bridges and tunnels they would like to retain.

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