The NSW Greens are calling on the Labor and Coalition parties to make a pre-election commitment to fully fund the completion of the Fernleigh Track in their 2007/2008 budgets.
The NSW Greens Transport Policy contains a firm commitment to cycling and cyclists, including the allocation of at least 5% of the State roads budget to bicycle programs. This would see the completion of valuable community projects such as the Fernleigh Track.
“The remainder of this track, from Whitebridge to Belmont, could be completed for about $5 million,” said Jane Smith, Greens candidate for Charlestown.
“This is not much to ask to complete a facility which provides clean and healthy recreational and transport options for residents across three state electorates.”
Under the current funding arrangement, the track is unlikely to be complete until 2015, despite the fact that the original management plan includes a completion date of 2010.
The State government has shared the funding of the track to this point. State funds for early stages of the track came from the RTA and the most recent funding comes from the NSW Coastal Cycleways Project. The balance of funding has been provided jointly by Newcastle and Lake Macquarie councils.
At this stage funding has only been confirmed to complete Stage 3A of the track – from Whitebridge to Oakdale Rd in Dudley. Funding is yet to be announced to continue the track to Redhead and ultimately Belmont.
“When the Fernleigh track is complete recreational cyclists and commuters will be able to ride from Belmont to Adamstown in safety and with ease – avoiding the major cycling challenges of steep hills and heavy traffic.” said Ms Smith.
For further information, and to arrange a photo opportunity with cyclists on the Fernleigh Track, please contact:
Jane Smith 49616864 , 0438 417927
David Bennett 49459350 (Newcastle Cycleways Spokesperson)