A feasibility study on upgrades to Jefferys Track was presented to the Huon Valley Council at its 25 November meeting, looking at whether the track could be made into a link road between the Huon Valley and Derwent Valley Councils.
The study was funded by a grant provided by the Tasmanian Government, and was led by the Huon Valley Council in collaboration with the Derwent Valley Council.
Having considered the study, feedback from submissions and engagement, and a petition against the upgrades lodged in October, Council agreed to support an investigation into improving the track solely as a fire trail and addressing current issues in consultation with stakeholders, including the track’s management, tenure and policing, and the possibility of restricting access.
“The Jefferys Track feasibility study looked at whether upgrading the track into a link road was possible, and to understand the level of support from the local communities for upgrade options,” said Huon Valley Council Mayor Bec Enders.
“Deloitte Access Economics undertook engagement with the immediately impacted communities, and delivered a report on the impact that a track upgrade would have on the communities, any concerns that local residents may have, as well as levels of support.
“Council supports an investigation into upgrading the Track to be an all-weather fire trail, which will support good fire and park management and recreation uses”
“A petition of more than 2000 names called to scrap the upgrades, protect the natural values of the areas and look again at developing Plenty Link Road. Council considered this petition, which contained nearly 800 Tasmanian names, together with the study.”
The feasibility study shows a link road would not be viable and there was no real support for a $276 million heavy vehicle route, although there was mixed support for a light vehicle route, estimated at about $98 million.
“We are committed to advocating on behalf of our community on how the State Government deals with the feasibility report,” said Cr Enders. “Council supports an investigation into upgrading the Track to be an all-weather fire trail, which will support good fire and park management and recreation uses, but we do not support sealing of the track for light vehicles.”
The estimated cost to construct the fire trail is $4.5 million.
“We will request that the State Government commit to undertaking upgrade works and ongoing maintenance of the track,” said Cr Enders.
Visit Have Your Say for background information on this project.