Cyclists and pedestrians have received a $609,000 boost with the launch by Byron Council last week of five shared cycle and pedestrian paths.
The cycleways, funded through the Federal Government’s Regional Community and Local Infrastructure Program, add an additional five kilometres to the shire’s bike network.
The existing cycleway network in the shire is more than 62 kilometres.
The shared cycleways and footpaths are in Shara Boulevard and Kallaroo Circuit (Ocean Shores), Left Bank Road (Mullumbimby), Ewingsdale Road (Byron Bay), plus a shared footbridge bridge over Saltwater Creek, Mullumbimby.
Mayor Cr Jan Barham said the projects were identified in the shire’s 2008 Bike Plan and were a much-needed infrastructure asset linking communities. Cr Barham said the shire’s lifestyle and values strongly supported the use of cycleways and footpaths as a low-impact transport that had many health benefits.
She said cycling and walking offered many social benefits and was an affordable and sustainable form of transport for the many local residents and visitors.
“Through the forward thinking of the Bike Committee, many potential cycleways have been identified throughout the shire and council is grateful for the Federal funding support in assisting with the implementation of the plan,” she said.
Cr Barham said the project also contributed significant economic benefit to the shire and region through the engagement of more than 30 contractors during the six-week period of construction.
The council was recently awarded a further $168,500 through the Federal Government’s $40m National Bike Path Projects.
The funding is going towards the extension of the Ewingsdale Road shared cycleway out to the planned Byron Regional Sport and Cultural Complex.
Cr Barham said the additional funding would complete the shared cycleway from Byron Bay to the new sporting facility and provide easy access for the many youth, sports participants and locals who rode for pleasure.
She encouraged the community to take full advantage of the cycleways and in particular looked forward to seeing the cycleways well used on Ride 2 School Day on March 17.
“The cycleways provide a vital form of safe transport for our youth in a shire which public transport is often not available,” she said.
The pro-rail group, TOOT, took the opportunity at last Thursday’s launch at Mullumbimby to press Richmond MP Justine Elliot on the lack of funding for rail infrastructure in the region.
TOOT president Karin Kolbe said the group was still waiting for any sign of a commitment by Federal Labor in the 2004 election campaign to restore the rail service to the Far North Coast.
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