Courtesy of the QLD TIMES
The is one of the reasons why Ipswich City Council has been hesitant in diving into any agreement. It has to be properly funded.
– Cr David Pahlke
Rail trail falls short on funding
THE State Government has underestimated the cost of finishing the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail by more than one million dollars, Somerset Regional Council. Mayor Graeme Lehmann called on the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads to finish the rail trail, despite the additional cost. Council officers estimate the cost of completing Toogoolawah to Moore section of the trail to the minimum standard acceptable to be $2,903,719 plus GST, which would amount to $3,194,091 – almost double the funds allocated.
Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Users Association president Paul Heymans said the alleged mistake was not a matter of council over-estimating the cost, but main roads severely underestimating it. “When the Palaszczuk Government announced $1.8 million to complete the trial, we were advised that the funding would be sufficient to complete the Toogoolawah to Moore section with some left over for other improvements,” Mr Heymans said. “Due to the large number of creek crossings and other significant civil engineering challenges, the actual cost of completing that section alone will be $2.9 million.”
In August, Somerset Council agreed to take over future maintenance of the rail corridor inside Somerset’s boundary. Cr Lehmann reiterated council’s offer to accept a 50 year licence for 110km of the trail, on the condition it was completed by DTMR before the handover. “For some reason, it is only the Toogoolawah to Moore section that DTMR haven’t finished,” he said. “This section of trail must be properly constructed to be safe for users and to be resilient against flooding.” Cr Lehmann said council had been told in no uncertain terms there would be no government flood damage funds to replace creek crossing that go washed away.
“There are dozens of these crossings,” he added. “This will be a great recreation asset for all of south-east Queensland when it is finished and we urge DTMR to finish the trail properly.” Mr Heymans agreed, saying the trail had huge potential to transform the local economies of the regions it passed through. “We’ve recently been engaged in discussions with major investors who wish to develop rail trail tourism, including sponsorship of a 22 seater shuttle bus and bike trailer. Their investment is contingent on a completed trail,” he said.
“Without sufficient funding this project may be dead in the water.” “We support council ni calling for government to deliver a completed trail as promised.” The QT contacted the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, asking whether they had underestimated the cost of the project. “The Queensland Government has committed $1.8 million to completed the Moore to Toogoolawah section of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail,” a Transport and Main Roads spokesperson said.
“We are working with Somerset Regional Council on a scope of works and costing required to complete this section.” “Subject to a successful agreement, it is expected that these works will begin next year.”
Finishing Rail Trail well worth money
WHEN the Palaszczuk Government announced $1.8 million to complete the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail, we were advised that the funding would be sufficient to complete the Toogoolawah to Moore section with some left over for other improvements. It subsequently transpired the funding amount was allocated with no detailed estimate of the actual cost. At the request of Department of Transport and Main Roads, Somerset Regional Council has subsequently undertaken a very detailed costing.
I’ve seen the report and I’ve done the tour with their engineer. Due to the large number of creek crossings and other significant civil engineering challenges, the actual cost will be $2.9 million. The funding on offer is therefore short of $1.1 million. This is not a question of Somerset Regional Council over-estimating the cost. The Department of Transport and Main Roads underestimated the cost.
The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail has huge potential to transform the local economies of the regions it passes through. We’ve recently been engaged with discussions with major investors who wish to develop rail trail tourism, including sponsorship of a 22 seater shuttle bus and bike trailer. Their investment is contingent on a completed Brisbane Valley Rail Trail.
Without sufficient funding and after all the hard work undertaken by the community to achieve a completed Brisbane Valley Rail Trail, this project may be dead, in the water. We support Somerset Regional Council in calling for the Palaszczuk Government to deliver a completed Brisbane Valley Rail Trail as promised. – Paul Heymans Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Users Association