Lutana Link - Update
On-site meetings have been held this year with State Denison reps Scott Bacon, Elise Archer and Cassy O'Connor, Federal MP Andrew Wilkie, and Glenorchy Mayor Kristie Johnston. All better understood the potential of the site after having walked along a section. Off-site briefings were provided for Elwick LegCo member Adriana Taylor and Deputy Mayor Harry Quick.
Andrew Wilkie subsequently wrote to Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding, whose reply clarified a couple of points:
- the rail corridor is Crown land leased to TasRail
- the above ground assets such as sleepers and rails are owned by TasRail
- the Dep of State Growth is developing a framework with Infrastructure Tasmania and TasRail to evaluate future use of non-operational rail lines (no time frame indicated)
It is our understanding that many of the perceived issues around rail trails - desire for heritage rail, biosecurity where rail lines pass through farm properties, etc. - do not apply to Lutana and there is nothing to prevent TasRail making an agreement with Glenorchy City Council right now.
Glenorchy City Council
GCC's position has been 'on hold' while approving its Open Space strategy - despite the Lutana track being an identified part of the Hobart Regional Arterial Bicycle Network Plan (2009), to which GCC agreed years ago.
The key step now is for Council to make this very doable project a priority and to direct its officers to progress discussions with TasRail.
Cycling South has put together a plan that is reasonable and within everyone's grasp:
- GCC to lease the rail bed of the existing corridor from Tas Rail, between the existing InterCityCycleway at Derwent Park Junction and Central Avenue. This is approximately 1km in length;
- lay a basic 2m wide crushed gravel track on this section, i.e. a 'Stage 1'. This can be designed now and proposed for inclusion in GCC 2016 budget. While it is not our role to prepare detailed costings, the expectation is that this style of path would be a very modest sum, and well under $100,000;
- GCC to prepare a scoping study on completion of a 'Stage 2' including track across the Brooker bridge, connection to Prince of Wales Bay and connection via old Bowen Rd up to Lutana Woodlands reserve. This study to assess all community needs and desired uses for the space including art, heritage, wildlife, passive recreation etc;
- identify funding sources and other opportunities (e.g. proposing some of the works as a Green Army project) to assist in implementing Stage 2.
This approach is consistent with the sentiments expressed in meetings with both local residents and prospective users, i.e. to facilitate safe access through the corridor at the earliest opportunity and to develop a longer-term strategy to best accommodate desired community uses.
Bicycle Network Tasmania urges those who wish to see progress on Lutana Link to lobby their GCC representatives to move decisively, and soon. Nothing happens without a first step and in this case the first step is for Glenorchy to make this project a priority and get to work.