Mountain bike trails to become tourism driver for CQ town
A NEW mountain bike and rail trail has been proposed for Mount Morgan, with adventure tourism identified by locals as a key element of the town's economic development.
Rockhampton Region mayor Margaret Strelow said the trails were one of the suggestions from Mount Morgan locals at a November round table hosted by the council to identify development priorities.
"We asked the Mount Morgan community what their priorities were, they've told us and now we're putting into action some of the excellent community feedback we received," Cr Strelow said.
"Council has taken a deliberate approach to driving economic development in Mount Morgan and the community is there with us every step of the way.
"A number of short-term and longer-term projects were proposed at the round table last year, which we've since tested and will further discuss with the community next week so we can get the ball rolling."
The key findings of the meeting were presented to councillors yesterday in the general meeting, where the future of tourism in the former mining town was discussed.
Reopening the Fireclay Caverns was the second key transformational project alongside the development of adventure tourism through mountain bike trails and opportunities at the No.7 Dam.
Councillors agreed to advance plans for a proposed Mount Morgan Mountain Bike and Rail Trail but stressed it was in early stages of development.
Parks, Recreation and Sports Committee chair councillor Cherie Rutherford said stage one would develop a world-class mountain bike trail linking a route around the dam and existing rail corridor.
"The Mount Morgan Dam is one of the region's most stunning natural assets, so leveraging from its potential is a very effective way to boost activity in Mount Morgan," Cr Rutherford said.
"The proposed plans when completed would provide a unique experience linking the cultural, tourism and natural assets within the township."
It comes off the back of Rockhampton's First Turkey Mountain Bike Reserve, which has been recognised as a competition-quality facility.
"The development of the First Turkey Mountain Bike Reserve has proven to be an outstanding success, both as a competition facility and a tourist attraction, with visitors coming from around Australia and overseas to experience these trails," Cr Rutherford said.
The council has engaged Ground Creations consultancy with hopes of achieving something similar in Mount Morgan.
A separate preliminary project design is being prepared to develop a rail trail from the Mount Morgan train station to Kabra or Gracemere.
Councillors were also told geotechnical assessments were being carried out inside the Fireclay Caverns, marking some of the first activity inside the caves since they closed in 2011.
A report from the latest inspections should be finalised by the end of the month or early April and the council is continuing discussions with the State Government about taking over the freehold for the site.
Aside from these two key tourism strategies, there were several other priorities for the community.
These included developing an Advance Mount Morgan Strategy, plus small business training and the chance for local business owners to study a Certificate IV in Small Business Management.
Councillors approved $60,000 from the next revised budget to support the development of the Mount Morgan strategy.
They also allocated $600,000 of $8.79 million State Government Works for Queensland funding towards the mountain bike trails.
A second community round table will be held in Mount Morgan next week so residents can discuss the findings presented in this report.
2018 Roundtable findings
Two transformational projects:
- Re-opening the Fireclay Caverns
- Developing 'adventure tourism' around No. 7 Dam
Five smaller scale projects:
- Establish walking trails
- Create a 12-month calendar of events
- Increase civic pride by beautifying the town
- Upgrade amenities and signage
- Work with the community to develop and promote community workshops