Huon Valley Council is currently reviewing the feasibility study to build a shared pathway along the Huon River, running from Huonville to Franklin. By providing a key recreational link between the two towns for use by local residents and tourists, the proposed multi-use pathway has the potential to bring many benefits to the Huon Valley and become a significant walking, cycling and kayaking trail for the region.
With a total estimated length of 7.5km, the path would start at the Huonville foreshore and follow the Crown-land public reserve along the western bank of the Huon River, eventually joining the existing path located at the Wooden Boat Centre in Franklin.
“If you live in the Huon Valley or enjoy visiting us, we want to know what you think about the proposed Shared Pathway project,” said Huon Valley Council Mayor Bec Enders. “Please take this opportunity to tell us your ideas and concerns. You can do so by completing our survey on the Huon Valley Council website by 5pm 10 February 2020, or in person at our Customer Service Centre at 40 Main Street, Huonville.”
A community workshop will also be taking place at 6pm on 18 February 2020 at the Palais Theatre in Franklin to discuss the project and survey results. If you wish to attend please register with Council by calling (03) 6264 0300 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The scenic path would provide beautiful views of farmland, forested hills, and wetlands, and could also boost the Huon River’s popularity as a recreational destination by providing improved riverfront access. Features such as kayak landings, car parking, outlook platforms and casual viewing decks for regattas would all be options to include in the design.
“If you live in the Huon Valley or enjoy visiting us, we want to know what you think about the proposed Shared Pathway project. Please take this opportunity to tell us your ideas and concerns.”
The project may also open up employment opportunities for canoe and bike hire operators.
The path would cater for people of varying levels of ability, including those using mobility aids, with accessible entry points provided at key locations. Also suitable for walkers with children and prams, the path would encourage community members of all ages to spend time outdoors engaging in healthy physical activity.
A detailed feasibility study has been completed to:
- Provide advice and information about the technical, engineering and planning aspects of the project
- Explore relevant opportunities and constraints
- Provide estimated costs for its construction and maintenance
Despite the riverside environment, the study concluded that there is little risk of erosion or flooding affecting the pathway as long as a suitable design and materials are used. While the path would be mostly concrete, sections of boardwalk would be used where the land is flood-prone or boggy.
Other aspects that will need consideration include:
- Path width (a minimum of 2m is recommended)
- Use of low-maintenance materials
- Noise, safety and impact on privacy for dwellings located along the reserve
- Opportunities to reflect the cultural heritage of the area (while there are no known historic heritage places along the proposed pathway, there are numerous heritage properties abutting the reserve and old jetty sites). An Aboriginal Heritage assessment will be undertaken.
- Avoiding impact on threatened native vegetation (Eucalyptus Ovata) and fauna (eastern barred bandicoot/masked owl)
Council has engaged SGS Economics & Planning to undertake a separate feasibility assessment on the economic and community benefits of this project, and the outcomes of both studies will be considered at an Ordinary Council Meeting once the study is complete. Please check the Have Your Say page for updates and to find out when the report will be presented to Council.
“By providing a multi-use track and improving access to the Huon River, the Shared Pathway would build health and wellbeing and enhance recreational activities for the community, which were identified as Future Directions in our Huon Valley 2020 Community Plan,” said Cr Enders. “Council will consider whether to go ahead with the project based on the feasibility of its construction, and the benefits it may have for our community.”
The Huonville to Franklin Foreshore Shared Pathway was identified as a priority at the Huon Valley 2020 Future Search Conference held in December 2007.
Council thanks the State Government for funding the feasibility study.
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Feature image by Pitt&sherry