Blue Dawg mountain bike trail supported by tourism heads
ROCKHAMPTON'S new mountain bike trail, Blue Dawg, is gaining the attention of some of the state's top tourism bosses.
Rockhampton Regional Council deputy mayor Neil Fisher has thrown his support behind the $400,000 project at First Turkey which is in the early planning stages.
The nine-kilometre intermediate blue mountain bike trail would be the longest downhill trail in Queensland once developed.
It is being touted as better than some of Australia and New Zealand's best trails.
The trail would start towards the top western summit of Mount Archer and descend through a 500 metre downhill trail, taking riders into the First Turkey Mountain Bike Reserve.
Cr Fisher said the Rockhampton Mountain Bike Club had seen great interest since the development of First Turkey and its events, that it was only a natural progression to the take it to the next level.
"We know the Mount Archer Activation Plan has the natural ability to provide one of the most disciplined mountain bike trails in the country," he said.
"These are $36 million-plus industries.
"It would be a natural fit for our tourism industry that is starting to develop around fishing and activities at Mount Archer."
In May Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) released a list of 20 projects Queensland tourism needs now to shine and reboot post-COVID-19.
Cr Fisher was critical that no projects for Rockhampton were among the Capricorn list with only the Keppel Bay Convention Centre, Surf Lakes Yeppoon and Great Keppel Island cited.
Mackay had a mountain bike track listed however Cr Fisher has argued the Blue Dawg trail will be much better.
"It's time we press the reset button on tourism, there is so much we have to sell to the post COVID-19 world," Cr Fisher said.
"A lot of that doesn't involve big shiny tourist attractions, it's experiences."
The three Capricorn projects were at the coast and Cr Fisher questioned why a tourist attraction could not be at a national park.
"It's no different than beach or island - if you want to have that experience of mountain riding through a picturesque part of Rockhampton," he said.
Cr Fisher assured he would be "knocking down the doors" of the tourism offices in Brisbane to get the Blue Dawg trail off the ground.
"I intend not to let this one fall off the radar, every opportunity that we can to promote this," he said.
When asked why Rockhampton wasn't on the projects list, QTIC chief executive Daniel Gschwind said the list at the time was just a few suggestions from regional tourism organisations.
He said he would fully support the Blue Dawg trail and any works involved with the Mount Archer Activation Plan.
"We are always happy to support innovation and renewal in our regional destinations," he said.
"We need new products now more than ever when we are trying to activate the industry.
"We all need to work with the regional tourism organisations with the Queensland Government and QTIC to really articulate strong, united support."
Mr Gschwind said active tourism products like mountain biking had experienced an incredible surge in Australia in recent years.
He noted how Derby in Tasmania was completely reinvigorated through mountain bike opportunities.
"The strength of projects like this can't be over-estimated," he said.
Tourism Minister Kate Jones said tourism infrastructure will be vital to creating jobs and rebuilding Queensland's economy post-COVID-19.
"That's why we've committed an extra $25 million for shovel-ready projects to get our economy moving again," she said.
"I'd be happy to discuss this proposal with the proponents."
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga, who enjoys mountain bike riding in her spare time, said it is a great project.
"I've been in regular contact with the proponents about their proposal," she said.
"I'll always back local projects that have potential to create jobs in our community."
Early estimations to build the Blue Dawg trail have come in at $400,000, however further planning and detailed design was still needed.