WHEELING IN CASH: A new plan has been hailed as a “big plus” for the economies of towns to the west of Gatton.
WHEELING IN CASH: A new plan has been hailed as a “big plus” for the economies of towns to the west of Gatton.

New tourism plan to bring $20+ million to Lockyer Valley

MILLIONS of dollars in economic stimulus could flow for dying towns in the west of the Lockyer Valley, after the council approved an ambitious new project.

Following the opening of the Toowoomba Bypass last year, businesses in Withcott have reported a substantial drop in customers.

But that could change, with a plan to bring $20 million in benefits to the region each year, and transform it into the mountain biking capital of Australia.

READ MORE: Adult shop, cafe report huge losses after bypass opening

Speaking in support of the proposal, councillor Janice Holstein said the new plan would be a big benefit for the western Lockyer.

“Given the tracks will end up in the Withcott area there’s huge potential for the town to take advantage of that,” Cr Holstein said.

Construction of the Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley Escarpment Mountain Bike Master Plan will include new trails and hubs to both regions and attract users both locally and from abroad.

Cr Michael Hagan was strongly in favour of the move, which he said would have broader benefit outside the Withcott area.

“It’s not just Withcott that will benefit from it, it’s the whole of the region,” he said.

The plan proposes 68.4km of new trails on the Escarpment, as well as the establishment of a mountain bike hub at Withcott.

The hope is the network would grow to become a “nationally significant” destination for mountain biking.

The report tabled for council described the master plan as an “aspirational” document, and any works towards a new network would still require further approvals and funding.

Estimates put the total cost of the project at about $6.2 million and would require significant ongoing funding for maintenance.

Deputy Mayor Jason told the meeting the Lockyer Valley was well positioned as the end destination of the trails, despite less than 3km of trails falling within the Lockyer Region.

“The figures show that it is the downside of the tracks that get the tourism benefits from these things,” Cr Cook said.


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