28 January, 2022
Riders raise concerns over development
CYCLISTS who use the Atherton Tablelands Rail Trail have raised concerns after a local pub erected a new fence directly bordering the trail as part of its plans to expand its business.
Well known developer and hotelier Tom Hedley has lodged an application for a material change of use as part of plans to provide additional facilities at his newest acquisition, The Tolga Pub.
Mr Hedley plans to develop a new car park, bistro, playground, toilets, amenities, and a range of other developments to the pub.
But the project has been met with some pushback from the community, namely enthusiastic riders of the rail trail who say they were not consulted or even informed of the works.
A fence has been erected bordering the existing rail trail while surveying pegs have been hammered into the ground directly on the trail.
“Some people have been working on this trail for nearly 20 years, working to beatify and maintain it for the community – it feels as though our eff orts have been totally disregarded,” trail rider enthusiast Dr Gayle Sticher said.
“If trail users and community members had been consulted, I’m sure we could have worked something out that worked for everyone.
“We fear that anyone who wants a part of the rail trail will be able to take it from the community – without anyone knowing it is happening.”
But Mr Hedley has assured riders that the rail trail will not be hindered by the development and he will ensure it stays connected.
A Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) spokesperson confirmed the existing rail trail would not be impacted by the Tolga Pub development.
“The land has only been offered under a sub-lease and not as a freehold disposal. It does not break the corridor or impact on the rail trail alignment,” she said.
“From the outset of discussions, TMR and Tablelands Regional Council informed the developer there was to be no impact on the rail trail.
“We are in consultation with council about the situation, however we will ensure that rail trail connectivity is maintained.”