In just six days, more than $23,000 has been pledged to support the development of a rail trail in Wagga.
Last Thursday, the Wagga Rail Trail committee launched a ‘crowdfunding’ site at the Thirsty Crow Brewery, bringing in $6500 on the night.
The aim of the fundraiser was to bring a trail designer to Wagga, in the hopes of planning a 21-kilometre sealed, shared recreation path between the visitors centre on Tarcutta Street and the Ladysmith Railway Station.
Committee chair Lisa Glastonbury called the pledges an indication of strong support from the community.
“It’s a pretty phenomenal response, it shows people are standing up for what the want for the city in the future,” Ms Glastonbury said.
“However, $40,000 is the target, so we need to keep pushing ahead.”
East Wagga farmer George Brown said rather than run through his farm, between Kooringal Road and Bakers Lane, the trail could go along Copland Street, down Tasman Road and then along Bakers Lane to the rail line.
“There are alternatives they need to look at,” Mr Brown said.
“They can’t go through the RAAF base, but there is old Gregadoo Road to Ladysmith.
“Look at what’s best for the community, what costs less, there’s a lot of infrastructure there already that can be better utilised instead.”
According to Ms Glastonbury, pledges ranging from $10 to $5000 had come from community organisations, businesses, sporting clubs and families. The $5000 donation came from the developers of Brunslea Park, which would benefit from the trail’s proposed route through the new suburb.
“The most common amount donated has been $100, which indicates just how important it is to people,” Ms Glastonbury said.
“Lots of mums and dads have come out and said they think it would be great for their family and they want it for the community in the future.
“A whole range of different people from across the community have stood up to back the project.”
Rail trails have generated controversy in the region for more than a decade, unlike Victoria where they are generally regarded as being beneficial. In Newcastle, a similar trail called the Fernleigh Track has boosted tourism and physical activity among locals.
To find out more about the project visit www.waggarailtrail.com.au and to donate go to pozible.com/project/make-the-wagga-rail-trail-pozible-1.