A SECTION of the shared coastal pathway between Lennox Head and the Pat Morton lookout could cost as much as $400 a metre.
Not even a $309,000 handout from Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese, announced this week, will pay for the 1km section.
Ballina Shire Council’s civil services group manager, John Truman, said a ‘rough estimate’ for the work was $400,000.
“It’s a section with some very steep grades,” he said.
“Length is not a measure of cost, and we are still working on the detailed designs.”
Mr Truman said the route between Lennox Head and the lookout would follow the existing track.
“The design of that section is currently in progress and the council will be seeking regulatory approval for the project at the completion of the design phase,” he said.
“The council is also currently finalising detailed information to enable the next level of assessment of the route options for the shared pathway between Pat Morton Lookout and Flat Rock Tent Park.
“Consultation with key stakeholders is continuing and a report is expected to be presented to the council shortly.”
Completing the entire pathway project between West Ballina and the Byron Shire boundary could cost up to $4.7 million.
But it has been a controversial issue.
Although Ballina Shire councillors voted last year to keep the route as close to the coast as possible, environmentalists and cyclists have raised concerns about that option.
President of the Ballina Bicycle Users Group, Craig Gibson, said the cost of going along the coast was ‘astronomical’.
He said most cyclists wanted a commuter-friendly path between Ballina and Lennox Head.
“It would be better going straight along The Coast Road,” he said.
“How will eight-year-old kids be able to use a track that goes up the Point? It’s pretty steep.
“Putting the path along The Coast Road would make it more accessible.
“We don’t want a sightseeing adventure for tourists.
“We want a route for locals so they don’t have to use their cars – we need commuting tracks.”
The $309,000 in funding was announced by Mr Albanese this week as part of the second round of the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program for ‘ready-to-go projects’.
SHARED PATHWAY COST
Rough cost of the coastal pathway section between Lennox Head and the Pat Morton Lookout – $400,000
Grant from Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese – $309,000
Distance of that section – about 1km
Total estimated cost of the entire project, from West Ballina to the Byron Shire boundary – $4.7 million
We don’t want a sightseeing adventure
for tourists. We want a route for locals
so they don’t have to use their cars
– we need commuting tracks