Summit walk takes big step forward
NORTH Burnett Regional Council has provided in-principle support for the use of a gazetted road easement needed to access the proposed Mt Perry Summit Nature Walk, a key hurdle in advancing the ambitious project.
The walk, contained within the Mount Perry Resources Reserve near Mount Perry, is accessible off Scrub Rd, a 20m-wide gazetted road easement.
"This is a most excellent development,” Mount Perry Community Development Board's Ken Schuster said.
"At this stage we are awaiting official notification and have been advised there are conditions upon this approval.
"Nevertheless, it is time to start considering what the next move should be.”
Mr Schuster said Council's in-principle support was required to "move the project forward”.
"Stakeholders are not willing to speculate on possible involvement when there is uncertainty over reserve access,” he said.
It is anticipated the road easement would require surveying, the development of a marshalling area at the beginning of the road easement with information signs and a seating area, bollards to allow walkers through and locked vehicular access for Ergon Energy and trail maintenance.
In all, the road easement borders four properties, the owners of which have been consulted.
They have each signed a letter of approval.
"The environmental awareness of the significance of this region and its ecosystems would be greatly enhanced, along with the economic benefits for the local community having people visit the town,” the letter said.
The board's next step is to secure funding for the project, the most significant of which is a Skilling Queenslanders for Work training program.
This program, introduced by the State Government, provides funding for trainees to be employed to work in the conservation and land management sector.
These trainees would be involved in the construction of the trail, with the program co-administered by the Gidarjil Development Corporation, a key partner in the project, and the MPCDB.
The board is awaiting the outcome of the SQW grant application, the result of which is expected in September.
The grant has an estimated value around $250,000.
"We are confident in the success of our application as the MPCDB has already successfully co-administered two rounds of funding with trainees working in Mount Perry for the past nine months,” Mr Schuster said.
Other expected costs include $5000 for the surveying of the easement, $50,000 for product, plant and machinery necessary for the trail's construction, and $10,000 for signage, trail design and digital promotion.
"The MPCDB will be pursuing a number of funding avenues and that will no doubt include the NBRC, whether it be in kind contribution, fee waivers and the like,” Mr Schuster told Council.
"As for all funding requests, it is the prerogative of the entity to accept or reject a request, therefore the MPCDB does not expect anything in particular from the NBRC.”
The board already has the support of Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and Partnerships, which has drafted a proposed Trail Management Agreement and has been an active participant in project meetings.
The draft agreement states that the board will "regularly undertake work to maintain the trail in order to control erosion and weeds, reduce environmental harm and provide a safe environment for trail users (and) undertake a quarterly safety and maintenance inspection of the trail,” among other requirements.
In return, the QPWSP will "supply, install and maintain signage defining the (walk)...provide technical support, training and advice on trail design and delineation... (and) maintain a... webpage identifying, describing and mapping” the walk, among other requirements.
Mr Schuster has suggested a working group be formed to "ensure proper due diligence, transparency and expertise is engaged.”
The group would include representatives from QPWSP, Gidarjil, NBRC and Evolution Mining.
The board already maintains a sub-committee working on the project.