More cycle funds sought

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Cr Ross Paine is passionate about providing more cycling infrastructure to the South West
Camera IconCr Ross Paine is passionate about providing more cycling infrastructure to the South West Credit: Lavell-Lee, Jackson Lavell-Lee

The City of Busselton will call on the State Government to increase cycling infrastructure funding after the release of the Department of Transport’s Leeuwin Naturaliste 2050 Cycling Strategy.

It aims to guide planning and delivery of cycling and shared path infrastructure, and key recommendations are to improve the safety and standard of cycle paths for multiple users and accommodate population growth.

The report was first presented to Busselton City Council earlier this year and, after a period of public consultation, was formally received last week. On voting to receive the strategy, avid cycler Cr Ross Paine put forward an alternative motion to also call on the Government to increase funding.

It was voted through unanimously without debate.

Cr Paine holds concerns about how the strategy’s vision to increase cycling infrastructure would be met when State-level funding cuts were on the table. He said the City of Busselton had increased its cycle path spending from 0.5 per cent to one per cent of the budget and urged the Government to follow suit.

“As the population grows, we want to motivate more people to take advantage of cycling,” he said.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the last State Budget included a total allocation of more than $134 million over the next four years, marking the “biggest investment in cycling in the State’s history”.

In 2017 The Australian Bicycle Council released the results of the National Cycling Participation Survey finding that 15.5 per cent of the population had ridden in the past week.

Over the course of a year, 80.6 per cent of people rode for recreational purposes and 30.7 per cent of people road for transport. Cr Paine said evidence showed that when cycling infrastructure was built, it was heavily used, and the region’s CBDs were a prime place to demonstrate that.

“If you look at the way Busselton and Dunsborough are built most people are roughly 5km from a town centre so we’re not in the situation where practically or geographically you couldn’t cycle,” he said.

The strategy seeks to connect and extend cycling infrastructure across the region and develop long-distance (inter-regional) cycling routes.

Cr Paine said some of the region’s priorities should be new cycling paths connecting the Busselton CBD to Geographe Bay and a recreational cycle path along the beach connecting Busselton to Port Geographe.

The Times understands the new cycle path near Busselton Jetty is the only cycle path that meets the standard recommended by the Department of Transport for multiple riders.

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