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Hills bikeway taken for funding ride


Future extensions to the popular Amy Gillett Bikeway are on uncertain ground due to a shortfall in funding for the project.

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Adelaide Hills Council member Melanie Selwood has begun a letter-writing campaign urging the State Government to commit funding to the completion of Stage Four of the bikeway by April.

Council has received $2.6 million in federal funding toward extending the bikeway from Mount Torrens to Birdwood.

The federal funds were secured and announced by Rebekha Sharkie in 2020, however, the $2.6 million falls short of what will be needed to complete the extensions.

“It’s not enough to get it to go to Birdwood. We need commitment from the State Government to be able to do that, but our deadline for using up that federal funding is April this year,” Selwood said.

Selwood said that conversations are being held with the federal government to try to negotiate a staged approach to ongoing construction so as not to lose the funding.

“I really fear that if we don’t make a commitment now, we may never get the track finished,” she said.

A State Government spokesperson said this is one of many instances where the former federal and state governments failed to adequately scope the funding needed for promised projects before committing to them.

“Nonetheless, the State Government will consider ways to progress the Amy Gillett Bikeway, a project begun by Labor, as part of its budget deliberations,” the spokesperson said.

Built as a dedication to the late Australian Olympic cyclist Amy Gillett, the bikeway was designed to encourage family-friendly, safe cycling.

The bikeway runs along a disused rail line that does not exceed a five per cent incline and is separate from nearby steep roads to create a safe cycling space for riders of all skill levels.

The first three stages of the Amy Gillett Bikeway traverse about 17 kilometres from Oakbank to Mount Torrens, passing cellar doors, distilleries, a cherry farm and Melba’s chocolate factory along the way.

Stage Four would see the path extend around seven kilometres further, to Birdwood, and the final stage of extensions would end the path at Mount Pleasant, more than 30 kilometres from end to end.

CEO of Bicycle SA, Brett Gillett (no relation to Amy Gillett), advocates for the construction of paths like the Amy Gillett Bikeway across the state.

“They give more people the opportunity to cycle for all the benefits it brings (such as) health, physical and mental wellbeing and community,” Gillett said.

“We’ve got to rely on the community to rally together for these sorts of things, to be able to get the message across. We encourage as many residents to write to the State Government as possible to really urge them to make that commitment.”

Selwood said more than 400 people have joined her letter-writing campaign, with others getting in touch to say that they had sent their own letters to their local MPs.

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story. Copied to Clipboard

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