Building a path between rivers

Residents of the Gloucester and Barrington, including their children attended the meeting in January. Photo Anne Keen
Residents of the Gloucester and Barrington, including their children attended the meeting in January. Photo Anne Keen

It started as a call out on Facebook, and now the idea is gaining traction.

Gloucester resident, Samantha Green started the ‘River to River pathway’ group in June 2016 for ‘residents interested in developing a footpath/cycleway between Gloucester and Barrington.’

The idea is to create a pedestrian pathway connecting the Barrington and Gloucester rivers, where residents and visitors can safety travel via non-motorised means between the locations without having to be on the Thunderbolts Way.

Since then there have been discussions with MidCoast Council about securing funding to assist with the project as well as members of the group getting together to talk strategy.

Both Ms Green and council's Manager of Community Spaces, Recreation and Trades, Dan Aldridge agree that due to the size of the project, funding needs to be sourced through grants.

As well as sorting out who to pay for it, the other obstacle is trying to figure out the best place to put the path covering the six kilometre distance; private land may need to be acquired in order to complete the project.

Mr Aldridge said council has been accessing funds at the end of each financial year to start work on the pathway in small increments; recently completing a section from the Gloucester River to just north of Showground Road. Council has confirmed there is some money in the budget this year that will assist in constructing another small portion and that applications are being made in an effort to secure grant funding. 

But the River to River pathway group are determined to push on and recently held a meeting to discuss options.

Around 20 members of the community, and their children attended the meeting at the Fox Den on January 16 where they each expressed their reasons for wanting the pathway.

Former Gloucester Shire general manager, Danny Green was present at the meeting that was spearheaded by his daughter.

“This project is overdue for Gloucester,” he said.

Former Gloucester Shire general manager listens to Barrington resident Erin Beech express her reasons for wanting the pathway. Photo Anne Keen

Former Gloucester Shire general manager listens to Barrington resident Erin Beech express her reasons for wanting the pathway. Photo Anne Keen

Some of the mentioned concerns were about the speed limit on parts of the Thunderbolts Way that travels past residential areas and safety for children wanting to ride their bicycles. Others talked about the health benefits for members of the community as it would encourage more people to consider non-motorised methods of transport when heading between the two towns. 

“A pathway linking the towns of Gloucester and Barrington would not only increase connections between people in different areas, but also promote safe, active transport for residents,” Ms Green said.

“It would be great for the community and great for the tourists,” Dominique Jacobs said.

“Bicycling is the fastest growing tourism driver,” Barrington Outdoor Adventure Centre owner Naomi Kilby told the group.

Ms Green said planning for the pathway will require support from residents and businesses as the group works toward finding a concept design that is best for the community. 

“Consultation with local landowners is particularly invited, in order to better understand suitable options for developing a route,” she explained.

For more information contact Samantha Green on 0451 105 061, email greensolutions2@bigpond.com, on the groups Facebook page or attending the next planning meeting on 9:30am Saturday, March 3 in Billabong Park.