FAST funding to enhance shared pathway

Lake Macquarie City Council

Lower Hunter City Commissioner Matt Endacott, Mayor Kay Fraser and Minister Rob Stokes on the Fernleigh Track at Belmont.jpg

Lake Macquarie City Council has received a NSW Government grant that will improve connections and rider safety on the northern section of the Fernleigh Awabakal Shared Track (FAST), the next stage of the popular shared pathway to be constructed.

The $1.17 million Get NSW Active grant will fund works within the northern section, an approximately two-kilometre stretch that will link the recently completed southern section at Hilda Street, Belmont South, with the end of the existing track at Railway Parade, Belmont.

The grant will contribute to the funding of the TAFE link – a section of shared pathway running behind Belmont TAFE – and safety improvements along Green Street, Belmont, and at the intersection with Ocean Park Road.

The 1.6km FAST southern section between Awabakal Avenue, Blacksmiths and Hilda Street was opened in August, and constructed with the help of a $7.4 million grant from the NSW Government’s Regional Growth Environment and Tourism Fund.

Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser said construction on the northern section was due to begin in the new year.

“The Get NSW Active funding will enhance the project, allowing us to construct a dedicated pathway behind TAFE, provide a safe crossing at Ocean Park Road and improve the section of track running along Green Street,” Cr Fraser said.

“It is exciting to see another significant piece of the FAST project falling into place. When complete, this continuous shared pathway will stretch 27 kilometres from Murrays Beach to Adamstown, making it the longest active transport route in the Hunter.”

Minister for Active Transport Rob Stokes said supporting the project was part of the NSW Government’s unprecedented commitment to walking and cycling.

“We’re so pleased to be supporting visionary local active transport projects like FAST, which will help locals live happier, more active lives and make this place an even more attractive place to live, study and visit,” Mr Stokes said.

“For children, older people, parents pushing prams or people with disabilities, a street without a footpath isn’t an inconvenience – it’s a barrier to moving freely in public space. That’s why we’ve already opened applications for Get NSW Active 2023 and we’re encouraging all councils to apply now.”

The northern section of FAST will include a boardwalk over the Belmont Lagoon wetland, an eye-catching new bridge over Cold Tea Creek and a platform to take in views of the lagoon and its abundant birdlife.

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