Trail closures cost cities sales
November 24, 2022
Businesses in Goomeri and Kilkivan could lose thousands of dollars in extra sales each week as Gympie Regional Council fails to maintain its part of the Kilkivan to Kingaroy rail trail.
According to the South Burnett Mountain Bike Club (SBMTB), the eight kilometer unsealed section of the trail between the South Burnett Regional Council boundary and Goomeri has been unusable for six months, and the 28 kilometer section between Goomeri and Kilkivan has been closed for almost a year.
These closures forced the club – and other groups – to remove the two cities from its circuit of events.
Last Sunday the SBMTB attracted 43 cyclists and half a dozen guests for a guided ride from Wondai to Dusty Hill Vineyard in Moffatdale.
The runners gathered outside the Wondai Art Gallery on Sunday morning, then followed a route along the South Burnett Rail Trail and then the Moffatdale Winery Route laid out earlier this year by the South Burnett Rail Trail Users Association and the South Burnett Regional Council.
This route takes cyclists off the rail track about six kilometers north of Murgon and takes them on another 14 kilometers of quiet country roads to the vineyards of Moffatdale.
In Moffatdale, some members of the group detoured through the cellar door of Clovely Estate to buy wine and gin, while others went straight to Dusty Hill for a long lunch before Out There Cycling brought back riders and their bikes in Wondai.
“In total, our little group spent over $2,000 on Sunday plus transportation costs,” said SBMTB Secretary Jason Wyeth.
“We would like to do similar rides in Goomeri so that locals and visitors can try Goomeri’s Bakery, Joe’s Grand Hotel, Wimberley & Co bookshop and the new confectionery that has just opened there,” he said. .
“But until Gympie Council gets a grader to fix their stretch from South Burnett to Goomeri, we simply cannot include them in any group outings we are planning.
“Taking cyclists to Goomeri along the Burnett Highway is just too dangerous, and cycling the Wide Bay Highway to Kilkivan is out of the question.”
Jason said that based on his own group’s activities and information collected by the South Burnett Rail Trail Users Association, the lack of maintenance of the Gympie trails was costing the Goomeri and Kilkivan companies between $100,000 and $200,000 a year. year in lost sales, and maybe more.
“A study last year by the University of Queensland Business School found that the average visitor to a rail trail in Queensland spends around $150 a day,” Jason said.
“You only need about 20-30 runners a week to generate $200,000 a year, but at the moment Goomeri and Kilkivan are getting hardly anyone.
“And while it’s not a huge amount of money, this type of expense means a lot to small businesses.”
Jason said the irony was that Gympie Council could have secured funding to repair their part of the trail from the Community and Recreational Assets Recovery and Resilience Program.
This program was designed to help councils repair community and sports facilities after this year’s rainy events.
South Burnett Regional Council received over $630,000 to repair and improve their section of the trail, but there was no mention of Gympie Regional Council in the recent funding announcement.
“We know Gympie has been hit hard by the floods this year and they have a lot of issues to deal with,” Jason said.
“But part of this problem predates the floods, so we would like to see it resolved.”
Footnote: southburnett.com.au cannot confirm whether Gympie County Council has actually applied for funding for the rail trail under the Recovery and Resilience scheme.
[Disclosure: Dafyd Martindale is president of the SBRTUA]