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Somerset rail trail petition gathers momentum

ON BOARD: Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann met with trail riders in Toogoolawah.
ON BOARD: Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann met with trail riders in Toogoolawah. Contributed

ORGANISERS of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail (BVRT) petition are hoping public pressure will pay off on Somerset Regional Council to apply for funding to complete the trail.

Somerset resident Paul Heymans said there were two critical sections unfinished - from Wulkuraka to Wanora and from Toogoolawah to Moore.

"The $3.5 million grant funding set aside by the Queensland Government seems like a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity to get this great project completed, but only councils can apply for the funding," Mr Heymans said.

"Somerset Council has been reluctant to take on any financial responsibility for the BVRT out of concerns that maintenance costs will blow out."

Mr Heymans said more than 1000 people had signed the Change.org petition calling on the council to apply for funding.

To promote the petition, Paul Heymans decided to ride the Rail Trail from end-to-end, one section every weekend.

Meanwhile Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington said she has spoken with Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney regarding the Somerset sections.

Ms Frecklington said the State Government has allocated $3.5 million over four years for a new Recreational Rail Trails Grants program.

"The funding I am requesting will be on top of this program", Ms Frecklington said.

SRC Mayor Graeme Lehmann said council has always supported the trail and was talking to government since June 2013 about its development and ongoing maintenance.

"Council welcomed announcements made by the State Government that $3.5 million will be made available towards the state's regional trails," Cr Lehmann said.

"Council has not yet been advised that funding rounds are open or the conditions that will apply."

Topics:  brisbane valley rail trail, petition, somerset regional council


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