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Making connections

A major recreation trail from the green of the hinterland to the gold of the coastline is still likely to go ahead. WORDS: Steele Taylor.

Sunshine Coast Council says it remains committed to a recreation trail that could connect the hinterland to the coast.

The planned Nambour to Coolum trail was endorsed in 2017, but details on the proposed route have been scarce since.

At the time, community consultation showed strong support from local residents, mountain bike clubs, cycling groups and canoe paddlers.

Planning and implementation of the trail was included in a 15-year Recreation Trails Development Plan.

The track would likely go from Nambour through Rosemount and Bli Bli to Coolum Beach, following sections of the old cane train line.

A council spokesperson told My Weekly Preview’s sister site Sunshine Coast News (SCN) that the trail was still expected to go ahead, outlining the next steps.

“We are moving forward with the trail, but it’s a complicated and multifaceted project that is interconnected with other projects in the area,” the spokesperson says.

“We are preparing to undertake detailed planning over the next 18 to 24 months, which includes further community involvement in the process.”

The spokesperson says the trail willbe of great benefit to locals and tourists, offering walking, running and cycling opportunities.

“It will potentially be made up of a network of up to 50km of trails, with a core route between Nambour, Bli Bli and Coolum.”

Other projects that could impact and/or interact with the route include the Blue Heart (critical areas of floodplain), the planned Beerburrum to Nambour Rail Upgrade and the proposed Olympic mountain biking facility at Parklands.

Members of community group Coolum Residents Association (CRA) are eager to see the trail become a reality.

Vice-president John Fuller says the group wants the trail ready before the Brisbane Olympics in 2032.

“The sooner the better,” he says.

“We have a subcommittee which is currently advocating for the trail by raising the awareness/agenda with, and seeking commitment from, councillors and state reps, and also linking with other community groups (including the) Nambour Chamber of Commerce.”

Mr Fuller says the trail could also promote active transport.

“It would be good for reducing traffic, good for community health and can connect all users with the local environment and history,” he says.

The CRA, via a recreation trail information presentation, says the trail will “almost inevitably” traverse sensitive habitat and vegetation, which would present challenges in selecting and constructing appropriate routes.

But the group says these challenges could be overcome and wildlife habitats could be part of the “compelling attractiveness” of the trail.

Features of the trail could include bird hides and koala habitats, as well as grazing areas.

But Mr Fuller says he is concerned by the “lack of awareness and the lack of funding” for the proposal.

SCN asked the council how much the trail could cost and how it could be paid for, but was not provided with a response.

SCN also asked the council whether the trail could go through private land and if any discussions had been held with landowners, but was not provided with a response.

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