Originally published on the Courier Mail

It’s taken years of campaigning and a looming state election but a push to get an additional 10km walking and cycling trail built on disused railway lines is now on track.

The state government allocated $200,000 to look into extending a walking track which is currently being built from Bethania to Yarrabilba more than 18km away by road.

The money is part of the state government’s plan to kickstart local economies hit by coronavirus restrictions.

Already the state and local council have announced plans for the first section, a small 3.5km track between the rural setting at Logan Village to the urban housing estates of Yarrabilba.

The latest move, to investigate extending that to Bethania, has intrigued many cycling groups, hoping to finally get safe and maintained pathways for commuting and recreation.

It has also raised hopes with local social enterprise Substation 33, which hopes to use the trail’s construction as a training program for disengaged youths participating in work programs.

“This would be great experience for youths on our work programs who want to get skills in landscaping and other areas,” Substation 33 founder Tony Sharp said.

Local Member for Waterford and Jobs Minister Shannon Fentiman handed the money to Logan City Council, which will spend it on assessing the use of the disused Beaudesert rail line as a new recreation route.

“As Queensland continues its plan for economic recovery during the global COVID-19 pandemic, every dollar invested returns economic benefits for the region,” she said.

“Global economies have done it tough during COVID-19, and Queensland is not immune.”

The Beaudesert rail line, originally opened in 1885 to carry agricultural produce, runs from Bethania to Logan Village but has not been used for 40 years.

Ms Fentiman said a record $23 billion had been invested in roads and transport projects to create work and keep the economy moving during COVID.

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