Lake Macquarie City Council will begin work immediately on the 3.5km shared path to connect the Fernleigh Awabakal Shared Track (FAST) to Blacksmiths Beach after a NSW Government funding grant for $7.4 million was approved.
Lake Macquarie City Council, Mayor Kay Fraser and Member for Swansea, Yasmin Catley MP at the Belmont end of the Fernleigh Track
FAST currently has over 200,000 walkers and bike riders using the track annually and numbers are expected to increase once the new shared path is constructed.
Once completed this project will enable 27km of continuous walking and bike riding from Murrays Beach to Adamstown, showing off the area’s scenic natural assets including the picturesque Belmont Wetlands. Constructing this path also enables wheelchair users access to these natural environments usually out of their reach.
Excitingly, it will be the longest continuous footpath/cycleway in the Hunter Region opening the area up to many future opportunities.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic restricting many forms of exercise, shared paths and rail trails have become important community assets that enable safe and distanced forms of physical activity. Creating more spaces for safe exercise and active travel is beneficial to the whole community.
Lake Macquarie City Council are also planning to include multiple entry points, amenities blocks along with a series of public art installations featuring the local Awabakal people and their relationship with the environment.
Council will fund the remaining $4.6 million to see this project completed. Overall the Council is aiming for completion by 2023.
“We’re glad this connection will provide a link between existing popular pathways in Lake Macquarie and Newcastle,” commented Bicycle NSW Communications Manager, Kim Lavender.
“It is great to see more safe and connected paths being built for bike riders and pedestrians.”