Shelling out on new route

CYCLISTS will soon find it easier to ride on a purpose-built route from Bargara to Bundaberg after Treasurer Andrew Fraser announced $2.36 million in funding for the multi-modal walkway while visiting Mon Repos yesterday afternoon.

The project will be completed with leftover funding originally allocated to the scrapped $4.4 million Bundaberg Turtle Interpretive Centre.

The NewsMail understands funding for the turtle centre was originally set to $3 million in 2001 and bumped up to $4.4 million when it was discovered more funds were needed to complete the project.

When the project was scrapped, the state government promised that the original funding — minus whatever was spent on the turtle centre — would remain in the area.

“The walkway will add to the tourism appeal of the Coral Coast, better connect the Bundaberg and Bargara communities, and provide another recreation option for local residents,” Mr Fraser said.

Bundaberg Region Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch said she was grateful for the funding for the project, which had been put on the backburner in May last year due to the lack of funds.

“It would never have got done as we’ve been concentrating on the airport,” Cr Pyefinch said.

She said the final route was yet to be determined but the bike path would not travel along Bargara Road as the road was too narrow.

The pathway was not the only funding coup for the area, with Mr Fraser also announcing $20,000 worth of satellite tracking devices for the Mon Repos Conservation Park.

“These devices will track where the turtles feed and breed, and will relay vital information about the effects of artificial light on their behaviour,” he said.

The park will also receive the help of University of Queensland honours student Megan Berry, who will research the effect of light on turtle nesting and their hatchlings.

“I will collate the data to get the difference between hatchlings with low lighting and high lighting to see if there is any interruption,” Ms Berry said.

Ms Berry will remain at Mon Repos for the duration of the nesting season.

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