Cycle path’s budget bonanza: ‘It’s a huge step in the right direction’

Bega Tathra Safe Ride members during a meeting in the Bega Valley Shire Council chambers. Picture: Supplied
Bega Tathra Safe Ride members during a meeting in the Bega Valley Shire Council chambers. Picture: Supplied

After years of advocacy by the Bega Tathra Safe Ride group, a cycle path between Tathra and Bega looks set to become a reality.

As part of today’s state budget announcements, $3million has been set aside for the design and construction of the 15km path, connecting the two towns.

“This will not only better connect two of our great communities, it will also provide another fantastic tourism driver and give the region a further economic boost,” Bega MP and Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said on Tuesday.

The funds will be provided to Bega Valley Shire Council to work with the community and stakeholders on the project.

“If council and the community work together we can ensure this project really delivers for the Bega, Kalaru and Tathra communities,” Mr Constance said.

Bega Tathra Safe Ride’s Doug Reckord said the funding comes after much lobbying from the group’s committee, and will be of benefit to the tourism, health and community recreation sectors of the Bega Valley.

“The evidence is there that if we have the infrastructure then people will use it,” Mr Reckord said.

“So I would like to thank Andrew Constance’s office for their collaboration, and also council because they have both been pivotal in making this happen.

“It shows that if the community, council and state government work together you can make things a reality.”

Mr Reckord said the announcement is a “huge step in the right direction” for the community.

“This means it’s going to happen in a way that will make the path an iconic visitation activity, given the big growth in bike tourism,” he said.

“The people who come to the meetings have been coming for a few years now, and it’s really exciting for the Bega Valley.

“Also, the advent of the Tathra Mountain Bike trails and the Enduro event, achieved through the work of the Tathra MTB club and people like Andy Johnston, have made the promotion of the Bega Tathra Safe Ride concept a lot easier.”

Mr Constance said the move helps support a “more liveable and accessible” community.

“The committee of the Bega Tathra Safe Ride have been in my office advocating for this great project, and I thank Doug Rekord, Robert Hartemink, Pip Russell and the committee for its continued push,” Mr Constance said.

“We are funding these great projects and now it’s time to get them built.  It’s boom time for the Bega Valley.

“The 2017/18 Budget will see an unprecedented amount invested into active transport infrastructure across the state, making it easier for people who walk or ride to work to do so more safely.”