$500 per night: Rail trail to deliver huge boost to economy
FROM elite off-road cyclists wanting to test themselves to families cycling and tour groups using electric bikes, the Northern Rivers Rail Trail will be set to deliver.
In the region to brief project stakeholders about progress at the Casino to Eltham and Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek stages, Rail Trails for NSW deputy chairman Tim Coen said on top of the physical and mental benefits a rail trail provides. it will also bring a significant economic boost for the region.
And he said the 131km trail, which will link Casino to Murwillumbah, could be completed within the next 12 months.
"Essentially it's just a footpath and councils can cope with these easily," he said.
Mr Coen said once NSW Minister for Regional Transport, Paul O'Toole introduces an amendment to the transport legislation in parliament this month, councils can access state and federal funding.
"There's 100 rail trails around the country and the Northern Rivers Rail Trail will be regarded along with the Bahamas, as the best tropical and subtropical rail trails in the world," he said.
"Bicycle tourists stay longer, spend more, and support smaller businesses, we call them 'wallets on wheels'."
Visitors could generate $500 per night for an overnight stayer using current visitor infrastructure.
It's excellent news for commercial trail-based businesses, including cycle guiding services, equipment and passenger transport and equipment hire, creating local jobs and providing opportunities to package and promote regional products to establish destination experiences.
Lismore-based Richmond River Riders mountain bike club president Chris Irish, said rail trials benefit all cyclists, be they beginners, social or endurance riders training for events.
"Many of our club members have experienced rail trails throughout NSW and interstate and have seen first-hand the positive effects their activation has had on adjoining communities," Mr Irish said.
On Wednesday night Mr Coen met with Lismore mayor Isaac Smith and councillors Darlene Cook and Elly Bird to bring them up to speed with the progress of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail.
Cr Cook said she was very excited about the Tweed and Casino stages bringing more sporting and general tourism to the region.
The global bicycle market is projected to grow from US$45 billion in 2016 to US$62 billion by 2024, according to data from the US that was posted on Cycling Queensland's website.