Work is about to begin on the South Burnett Rail Trail.
Work is about to begin on the South Burnett Rail Trail. Louise Cheer

Rail trail costs a concern for neighbouring council

SOMERSET Regional Council mayor Graeme Lehmann does not share South Burnett Regional Council mayor Wayne Kratzmann's enthusiasm for rail trails.

Mayor Lehmann fears maintenance costs of completing the Moore and Toogoolawah section of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail could become a burden.

If the Somerset section of the rail trail is finished it will cover 125.5km making it the longest out of the 21 existing trails in Queensland, and it would cost about $500,000 a year to maintain.

Mayor Graeme Lehmann has enraged some groups with his hesitation to apply for funding that was made available for rail trails.

"The last thing I want to see happen is for the trail to become a burden slung around rate payers' necks," Cr Lehmann said.

"We need to know if the future funding will be there and the details; what are the expectations of council, how much money will be required from council and are there more funds for maintenance?"

Mayor Wayne Kratzmann fought for 13 months to secure the $2 million to fund the Kingaroy to Kilkivan rail trail and said it is up to councils to set aside enough money to keep the track in good condition.

"Part of the $2 million will be set aside for maintenance costs," Cr Kratzmann said.

"What needs to be done, by council, is to make provisions to fund the ongoing work. There have been rail trails where people actually donate to help with the upkeep of the trail and that's something we'll be looking at."

The state government has made $3.5 million available to councils over the next four years for maintenance and upgrade costs for the 21 existing rail trails with three more in the pipeline.

In parliament last week, Nanango MP Deb Frecklington called on the government to offer Somerset Regional Council funding to finish the remaining 26.8km, of the rail corridor.

But she said no campaign would be successful without the support of Somerset Regional Council.