18 November 2020

$5.25 million walking trail to link Batehaven to Malua Bay

| Kim Treasure
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Observation Point, Batehaven. Photo: Jordon Martin.

Observation Point, Batehaven. Photo: Jordon Martin.

A new 30km walking trail will wind its way along the NSW South Coast, linking Batehaven to Pretty Point at Malua Bay via beaches and headlands.

The Batemans Bay Coastal Headlands Walking Trail and Observation Point Viewing Platform will come with a $5.25 million price tag and showcase some of the best coastal vistas south of Batemans Bay.

The walk is being co-funded by the NSW Government and Federal Government, thanks to the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund.

High level planning is complete and detailed design work has started for the first stage of work at Observation Point. Eurobodalla Shire Council hopes to start construction in the first half of 2021.

Council’s Deputy Mayor, Rob Pollock, said investment in community infrastructure is vital to support the region’s economy after the Black Summer bushfires.

“Nature-based experiences are what people are looking for today,” said Mr Pollock.

Malua Bay beach.

The new 30km Batemans Bay Coastal Headlands Walking Trail will end at Pretty Point, on the southern end of McKenzies Beach, Malua Bay. Photo: Lucy Cartwright.

“We want to make it easy for our visitors and locals to find and explore these fantastic trails and headlands. It also means people with mobility issues will be able to get to spots such as Observation Point and see what makes the Eurobodalla such a special place.

“Council has already done the early planning work, and now we’ve got funding, we can get started on the lookout and formalising the headland trails.

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“It’s a great boost for our economy and our tourism product. We’re grateful to the Commonwealth and NSW governments.”

Bega MP Andrew Constance said the funding will help with construction of the accessible walking track, starting at Observation Point in Batehaven, where a new lookout will be built, and stretching south along the headlands to Pretty Point, near McKenzies Beach.

“The Eurobodalla is home to some of the state’s most beautiful beaches and coastlines,” he said. “This fantastic new walking trail will make it easy to get from Batemans Bay’s headlands to beaches and retail precincts, and will really turbocharge the area, encouraging visitors to stay longer and spend money in local businesses.”

The funding comes after the NSW Government awarded $3 million to Eurobodalla Shire Council for the Mogo mountain bike trails project in October 2020.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund is designed to deliver infrastructure and initiatives that will boost economic and social recovery, increase community preparedness for future natural disasters and help residents get back on their feet.

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“Our regional communities have been doing it tough to say the least, which is why we are backing projects that will put people back in work, retain existing jobs and stimulate local economies with a focus on improving essential community infrastructure and industry development,” said Mr Barilaro.

Applications for a share of $250 million can be submitted in the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund open round, which opened on 27 October, 2020.

Grants of between $200,000 and $20 million will be available to organisations through the open round – including councils, joint organisations, business chambers, charities, businesses and Local Aboriginal Land Councils – to deliver successful projects.

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How is it possible that this project (albeit a good one) is able to be announced prior to the 11th December close off date for the BLER fund? How is it also possible that the money be available now, when other groups will not even find out the applications submitted are even successful until March 2021? While I’m all in favour of legitimate groups with legitmate community recovery projects receiving funding access as soon as possible, it is quite apparent that we are not all on a level playing field. This is a big fat slap in the face for all of the volunteer’not for profit’ groups out there currently busting a hump to even get an application in by the ludicrously short time frame.Please explain Andrew Constance and John Barilaro…

Will any part of the walkway detour onto suburban roads or will they install raised walking platforms around those headland areas where a track cannot be built due to private property?

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