Friday, 3 October 2014

Newstead Trails and Pathways - with Christine Henderson

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Dig Cafe Sunday October 26th 2014 at 3.30pm.

The series of Rocket Science sessions supported financially by Mount Alexander Shire continues - this is the fifth session that looks at an issue that was in the top ten raised in the Community Plan.

Walking/cycling tracks were the fourth priority in the Newstead Community Plan. 

Walk or cycle to Dig Cafe in the centre of town for a discussion on footpaths, walkways, trails, cycle tracks in and around Newstead.

 It is perfect timing for Newstead to start talking and working as Council has already committed to upgrading footpaths in parts of Newstead. More can be done now that Council last month (September) endorsed the "Walking and Cycling Strategy 2010-2020" which sets out a strategic approach for Council to increase and improve walking and cycling activities in the Mount Alexander Shire over the next decade.

Huge potential exists for Newstead to provide safe and healthy outdoor recreation options as more people look to exercise, walk, ride and explore in our local area with maps and pamphlets & well signposted walking routes in and around town. The tourism and economic benefits are obvious. 

Council has just approved the Castlemaine to Maldon Trail so Newstead could be linked via existing Muckleford Forest tracks.

Newstead could also be promoted as the Gateway to Cairn Curran with a safe offroad path out from town.

Bring along or share online your favourite walks and bike routes. 

Extract from Top 10 Priorities in Newstead Community Plan

4. Establishing a connected network of walking and bike paths and trails between Newstead and surrounding towns, using existing easements and bushland areas
Newstead is ideally located to take advantage of the surrounding river and bushland and to promote walking and cycling within and without the township. The idea of paths connecting with surrounding towns – Guildford, Maldon, Castlemaine – as well as more locally, along the river and between the west and east side of town, via off-road routes, accessible and safe for all, was strongly supported during the community planning process. The proposed Railway Arts Precinct and Pedestrian Bridge form key links in the proposed trail network. Benefits include enhanced community connections, health and fitness and possibilities for tourism and economic development.
Current Status:
  • MAS Council has committed $800,000 towards a bike and walking path from Newstead (starting at the Newstead Railway Station) to Castlemaine via Guildford, alongside the rail line route. The Council has also established a Trails Advisory Committee as part of their 2010 – 2020 Walking and Cycling Strategy, to improve and increase this activity in the Shire.
NB This proposal has been ruled out due to excessive costs of safety railings on wooden structures - bridges etc.(September 2014)
Next steps:
  • Get a group of interested locals together to define local township and intra town walking, bike riding and safe connections linking to the extensive network of tracks in the surrounding bushland areas, eg Muckleford Forest, Loddon River,
  • Ensure local knowledge and input into MAS Trails Advisory Group and that Newstead’s needs are represented, including access and safety issues
  • Create and update guide maps for local walking and cycling trails and opportunities for unobtrusive interpretive signage along routes

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