Wheels in motion for bike trail proposal
A VISIONARY proposal for Cardwell to become a world-leading mountain bike destination has received the enthusiastic backing of Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto, as the project takes another step forward.
Mr Dametto said he was excited internationally renowned specialist agency World Trail had been appointed by Cassowary Coast Regional Council to commence feasibility investigations.
“This represents a significant development in this proposal, which has the ability to transform Cardwell into an adventure tourism destination,” he said.
“Developing our natural assets and building off the eco-tourism brand, we can develop a destination that is the envy of the world no matter if you ride, fish, hike or stroll.”
Community Bike Trails Action Group member Kathy Sheahan said World Trail had “decades of experience” and were “well placed deal with what the Far North Queensland terrain and weather throws at them”.
“To know that they have been appointed to undergo feasibility investigations into creating a mountain bike destination right here in Cardwell is exciting,” she said.
“There are many boxes to tick when creating a mountain bike destination however one of the key elements is location. Cardwell is ideally situated on the coast overlooking the beautiful Coral Sea, the world-renowned Hinchinbrook Island to the east and Australia’s most extensive mountain range to the west. These ranges are what excites a mountain biker.”
Ms Sheahan said Cardwell was perfect for riders as a “ride in, ride out location”.
“It’s a place where they can walk out of their accommodation, jump on their bike and be on the trails in a matter of minutes. In addition to this, we are ideally placed between Townsville and Cairns, home to both domestic and international airports with easy access by car to Cardwell. Throw some epic mountain bike trails into this mix and we believe we have the right formula to appeal to the global mountain bike community.”
Mr Dametto said tourism numbers in Cardwell had suffered since Cyclone Yasi and long standing issues with all tidal access had heavily contributed to a reduction in access to nearby Hinchinbrook Island and the Great Barrier Reef, meaning the town was looking for innovative ideas to attract a “slice of the domestic and the international market”.
“This project is gaining strong community support,” he said.
“If we could mirror the success World Trail has had in other regions, the economic and reputational benefits would be significant.”
Mrs Sheahan said mountain biking had “transformed once declining regional communities into vibrant economic powerhouses”.
“Mountain bikers are easily convinced to travel long distances to beautiful and remote regions to check out trails. Rural towns dealing with economic challenges are relishing in what this new-found tourism brings to their communities and Cardwell is no different. This project has the potential to boost and revive existing businesses and create new business opportunities in our town,” she said.
“We have been investigating the possibility of bike trails in our area for close to four years. We’ve done our homework and are not just hopeful, but absolutely certain we have the formula to create a Mountain Bike Destination which will match, and if not be better than, many others in this country.”
The results of the study are expected to be delivered to council later this year.