A long-awaited report has found the Wagga to Ladysmith rail trail is definitely achievable, but it will come with a significant price tag.
According to consultants Inspiring Place, the construction of the trail will cost close to $10 million, but they were quick to point out that cost should not be borne by the community, identifying partnerships between state and federal governments and the private sector as a possible funding source.
The proposed trail comes after years of sometimes heated debate on the subject.
Farmers and other landowners had fiercely protested the plans to build a 21-kilometre track along a disused rail line, citing privacy and biosecurity concerns.
But a crowdfunding campaign in the weeks before Christmas last year saw considerable support for a rail trail, with $50,000 raised to engage the trail designers.
The proposal from Inspiring Place appears to have taken everyone’s concerns into account, with an altered route that bypasses properties at Alfredtown and allows for stock and machinery crossings, as well as fencing.
Rail trail committee chair Lisa Glastonbury welcomed the revised plans and said she would be “strongly guided by them”.
“We recognise this (study) was funded by the community and we think it’s money well-spent,” Ms Glastonbury said.
“This really is a thorough analysis and it provides us with a clear pathway for development.
“We’re looking for feedback from the public and it will be on our website for a month so we can hear what people think.”