The Development Application (DA) for the design and construction of Newcastle's section of the Richmond Vale Rail Trail was approved in part in December 2021 by the Hunter and Central Coast Regional Planning Panel.
Approximately 13 kilometres of the path located within the Newcastle Local Government Area was approved. Two kilometres of the trail through the Hunter Wetlands National Park will undergo assessment in 2022.
The Richmond Vale Rail Trail is part of an overall regional proposal between City of Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Cessnock City Councils for a 32-kilometre cycling and walking track along the former Richmond Vale rail line between Kurri Kurri and Hexham, along the former Chichester to Newcastle water pipeline between Shortland and Tarro, and through the Hunter Wetlands National Park.
The shared pathway would provide a link for cyclists between Kurri Kurri, Tarro, Minmi and Shortland without having to ride on the Pacific Motorway, Hunter Expressway or New England Highway.
The project offers a great active transport choice for locals and visitors, passing through old railway tunnels and over bridges, amongst wildlife habitats and linking to Hunter Wetlands Centre.
It would also open up the Western section of the Hunter Wetlands National Park to the public and provide opportunities in the key growth areas of transport, tourism, recreation, heritage, and economic and social development.
The proposal is being put forward by City of Newcastle, Cessnock and Lake Macquarie councils, with funding contributions from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Donaldson Conservation Trust.
The Richmond Vale Rail Trail proposed start/end points within the Newcastle LGA include:
- Shortland off King Street.
- Fletcher at Kural Cresent.
- Minmi behind McInnes Street
The project has been divided into two sections across three local government areas:
Section 1: Shortland to Minmi and Pambalong Reserve (City of Newcastle)
The stages are as follows:
- Stage 1: Prepare concept design (completed).
- Stage 2: Prepare the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) supported by the required environmental investigations (completed)
- Stage 3: Submit DA with design and EIS (completed). The DA was publicly notified on our website throughout August 2020. To view application details and documentation visit Application Tracking and search using ID Number DA2020/00641. The DA will be determined by the Hunter and Central Coast Joint Regional Planning Panel (completed, with the project receiving approval in part).
- Stage 4: As per a condition of approval from the Hunter and Central Coast Joint Regional Planning Panel, we will prepare an assessment for the section of the trail through the Hunter Wetlands National Park. National Parks and Wildlife Service will determine this assessment.
- Stage 5: Detailed design phase.
- Stage 6: Construction.
Section 2: Pambalong Nature Reserve to Kurri Kurri (Cessnock City Council and Lake Macquarie City Council)
The stages are as follows:
- Stage 1: Prepare concept design (complete) and the Review of Environmental Factors (REF) supported by the required environmental investigations.
- Stage 2: Assessment of the design and REF by Cessnock and Lake Macquarie councils.
- Stage 3: Detailed design phase.
- Stage 4: Construction.
For more information on this project, call us on (02) 4974 2000.