Rail trails a productive use of public land

Sir, – Col Locke’s letter of October 19, mocking efforts to promote the idea of a rail trail from Tumut to Batlow with yellow bicycles, betrays his ignorance of the opportunities a rail trail can bring to the area.

This Sunday, my family and I will ride bikes along part of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail in Queensland. We are hiring bikes from and using the shuttle service of Out There Cycling, a small business made possible by the rail trail.

We will eat lunch at one of the cafes along the trail that are thriving thanks to the trail. On the trail, we hope to encounter the clydesdale drawn wagon of Heartland Heavy Horses, another tour operator which has recently opened as a result of the trail.

The following Saturday, I and 160 other cyclists will ride from Yarraman to Toogoolawah.

A local transport company and bus charter company have been engaged to ferry our bikes to the start line and the cafes and pubs along the route will be bursting at the seams with hungry and thirsty patrons.

I enjoyed a similar event in July, when over 200 cyclists enjoyed the full length of the trail over three days, putting thousands of dollars into the tills of the local businesses along the way.

One need only look at the Facebook page of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Users Association to see how frequently and enthusiastically the trail is used and how the local communities have benefited from this healthy and environmentally friendly activity.

As a representative of the Gilmore Progress Association and other community groups, Mr Locke should encourage the productive use of public land for the community’s economic, health, and social benefit.

Yours etc,

Michael Healy