$2.6M to complete Stage 4 of Amy Gillett Bikeway
The Mount Torrens to Birdwood section of the popular Amy Gillett Bikeway can finally be completed thanks to $2.6 million in funding secured by the Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie.
The funding was announced in the Federal Budget.
Following the Budget announcement, Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said: "The Australian Government is proud to provide nearly $6 million in funding for local infrastructure projects in Mayo that will support communities and rebuild the local economy. Rebekha Sharkie's advocacy has played a key role in securing funding for these projects. Rebekha has been a strong advocate for local infrastructure projects that boost the local economy and strengthen community and relationships."
Rebekha said: "Securing funding for the completion of Stage 4 of the Bikeway is something I have been working on since I was first elected in 2016 and it is a project often raised with me by my community so I am delighted that we could secure the funding."
“Cycling is now a very popular recreational activity in Mayo and the Santos Tour Down Under has put the Hills on the map as a cycling destination," she said.
"Thousands use the bikeway, and it is a huge tourism drawcard for Mayo so completing Stage 4 will add to the appeal of this shared-use trail.”
Stage 1 of the Amy Gillett Bikeway from Oakbank to Woodside was built on an abandoned rail corridor in 2010 by the State Government thanks to the persistent lobbying of the Adelaide Hills Rail Trail group and the Adelaide Hills council.
Stage 2 to Charleston and Stage 3 to Mount Torrens were then constructed but since 2014 work on the remainder of the planned bikeway stalled when no further funding was allocated by the State Government.
Named in honour of cyclist Amy Gillett, who was tragically killed in 2005 during a training ride with the Australian women's cycling team, Rebekha said the bikeway was a fitting legacy to the elite SA athlete.
“It also promotes the work of the Amy Gillett Foundation to improve road safety and awareness of cyclists,” Rebekha said.
“My community can see the enormous social and economic potential to finish this project.
“The State Government has contributed its fair share, and other tiers of government now need to step in.
“The local Adelaide Hills Council has limited resources, but it is committed to the project, as am I.
“I am pleased I have been able to convince the Federal Government to contribute to this enormously worthwhile project.”
Amy’s parents and founding members of the Amy Gillett Foundation, Mary and Denis Safe, welcomed the funding for Stage 4.
"As Amy's parents we are very excited that Stage 4 of the Amy Gillett Bikeway will go ahead,” Mary said.
“This safe and completely off-road bikeway is a wonderful SA legacy of Amy's life and it provides so much pleasure to so many who live in or visit the Adelaide Hills.
“Many thanks to Rebekha's persistence, along with the Adelaide Hills Council and Federal Government for committing to this project."
The Amy Gillett Foundation also welcomed the investment.
“We are thrilled by this announcement and wonderful leadership from Rebekha Sharkie, Senator Stirling Griff, the Federal Government and the Adelaide Hills Council," Foundation Chief Executive Dan Kneipp said.
“We’ve known for decades that safety is key to cycling participation. Recent polling commissioned by the foundation shows that 89 per cent of Australians support temporary separated bike lanes, making it clear that separated cycling infrastructure is the preference for all road users.
“We look forward to seeing a greater investment made in other parts of the country to ensure all Australians have access to safe cycling.”
Adelaide Hills Deputy Mayor Nathan Daniell said his council and the Hills community have long advocated for the completion of the Amy Gillett Bikeway.
"This project provides another important way for our towns and our community to reconnect after the Cudlee Creek Bushfire and COVID-19," Mr Daniell said.
“The Amy Gillett is incredibly popular and I’m certain this final stage will be well utilised by both our local community and tourists visiting the Adelaide Hills.
“We know spending time outdoors and exercising is beneficial and the completion of the Amy Gillett will positively impact on the physical and mental well-being of our local community."
Photo: The Mount Torrens to Birdwood section of the popular Amy Gillett Bikeway can finally be completed thanks to $2.6 million in funding secured by the Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie