Plans afoot to develop walk trails

Karen HuntManjimup-Bridgetown Times

The Blackwood River park and foreshore is to be developed and walking trails upgraded with a $50,000 planning phase about to get under way.

Bridgetown-Greenbushes Shire Council on Thursday voted to accept $42,187 from Lotterywest to help plan the 13ha development.

The council would contribute another $6000 or so to the planning stage in the form of officer hours.

The upgrade was a priority under the Warren Blackwood Regional Trails Master Plan and the council, during its community plan review, received feedback urging it to improve the park.

The council acknowledged there was a strong community interest in the project but wanted to get it right, shire president John Nicholas said on Friday.

“We need to do it sensibly and sensitively,” he said.

“I know in the past council has just waded into clearing some of the low vegetation around the river.

“We’ve been pretty severely criticised by some of the environmental groups about how that’s been done.”

All groups interested in the foreshore would be consulted as the project is planned, he said.

An aerial survey would be done before a concept design was drawn up, with the development to include an art trail, canoe ramp, seating and shelters plus an upgrade of the Old Rectory Walk.

Because the river is a registered Aboriginal heritage site, development of the foreshore would require ministerial consent.

Extensive consultation with traditional landowners may be required and the grant funding would help cover costs of consultation with elders and archaeological surveys.

Feedback from the broader public would also be sought as the project took shape.

Once a detailed design and costing was finalised, the council would be able to seek further grant funding for construction over coming years.

“This will make some of the trails in that area more accessible,” Cr Nicholas said.

“And tidying up the river foreshore will make it more of a tourist attraction.”

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