Beach Road cycling facility a regional first

Council advise that Eurobodalla’s cyclists are enjoying safer riding on one of the shire’s busiest roads.

Claiming a regional first, the four kilometre cycling facility along Beach Road combines dedicated cycle lanes and parking lane use between the popular beachside villages of Batehaven and Surf Beach.

Defined by painted lines on sealed road shoulders, the new bike lanes link Batehaven with Caseys Beach, while markers in the parking lane permit on-road cycling from Caseys Beach to Surf Beach shops. For extra safety, signs to limit parking have been installed in some places.

Council’s director of infrastructure Warren Sharpe OAM said allocating space to cyclists on both sides of the road with clever line-marking has increased safety and opportunities for cyclists.

“The new line marking and signage allows bike riders to safely cycle between existing shared pathways around Batehaven, Caseys Beach and Surf Beach, and links them to the shared pathway directly into Batemans Bay CBD,” he said.

“This cycling facility is the first of its kind in regional NSW, and we thank Bega MP Andrew Constance and the NSW Government for funding the initiative in Eurobodalla.” The option to provide a linemarked lane will come as a disappointment to Moruya South Head residents who are still waiting for their missing link. In June 2018 the community learnt that there would be no path completion and no change left over from a $750,000 gifted by Andrew Constance, Member for Bega, under the Active Transport Program for missing 2.3km Moruya Sth Head cycleway link

At the May 22nd, 2018 Council meeting there was clear disappointment shown by members of the Moruya South Head Cycle/Pathway Committee as they heard the discussions prior to Council accepting the offer of funding of $750,000 from the NSW Government toward a shared pathway along South Head Road. During discussion it was revealed that very little of the remaining 2.3km of pathway would be constructed with the money and that the three quarters of a million dollars would be only sufficient enough to complete a short section section east of The Anchorage to Halyard Drive with the rest of the money being used to undertake the detailed design, environmental approvals and land acquisition for the section between Keightley Street and Halyard Drive and for preparing estimates for the whole of the project. Once completed these environmental reports, designs, land acquisitions, permissions and estimates would be in place, should further funding be found to allow commencement of work from Keightley Street toward South Head. All this came at a surprise and also a disappointment to Councillor Anthony Mayne who sought explanation from Director of Infrastructure, Warren Sharpe (follow to the discussion in the video below). Councillor Mayne stated he was well aware that there were alternate ideas outside of Council suggesting a possible alternate route that would be considerably more affordable. The "possible route" suggested pavement widening of South Head road and line marked cycle lanes - exactly the same as seen all over Europe, New Zealand and elsewhere in Australia including Victoria and the ACT. Councillor Mayne voiced his concerns that there would be little in the way of any new pathway constructed and requested a Kumbaya round table with all interested parties to discuss other options. The Director of Infrastructure clearly advised Councilor Mayne during the council meeting that the funding ($750,000) has "the caveat on it that it has to be used for an off road shared pathway." (see video time stamp 5:55) Councillor Mayne sought to see a copy of the letter and the exact wording of the caveat and establish what other conditions had been placed on the money by Minister Constance saying "this will have a direct impact on any alternate options being brought to the table proposing an alternate route or design to that now being considered by Council staff." Though asked on several occasions the evidence of a caveat on the $750,000 has not been forthcoming and Clr Mayne is still waiting.

Above: a VIDEO extract from the Ordinary Meeting of Eurobodalla Council Date: 22 May 2018 - Councillor Anthony Mayne speaking to the Agenda Item:IR18/024 Funding Offer - Active Transport Program - Shared Path, South Head Road, Moruya At the time Andrew Constance, Member for Bega voiced the response of ​"Outrageous" when advised by the Bay Post that Eurobodalla Shire Council has stated that his $750,000 will not be enough to complete the Moruya to South Head pathway. Danielle Brice, a long time supporter of the Moruya South Head Cycle/Pathway project, which was first formed back in 2000 by community members, was also dismayed when she heard that the $750,000 would see little in the way of the missing 2.3km of pathway being constructed and was also disappointed to hear that the missing link might take 5 to 10 years to complete understanding that Council had determined that the Moruya to South Head off–road pathway linkage will be reconsidered when the pathways strategy is next reviewed in five years, unless the project is fully funded through grants (outside of the Active Transport Program) and/or community funding.

In the meantime the new cycleway in Batemans Bay has already provided a much needed solution at little cost employing the exact method that was apparently "off the table" for Moruya South Head due to a caveat, apparently placed on the $750,000 by the Member for Bega as the councillors were clearly advised on 22 May 2018 . The project was funded by Transport for NSW under the Fast Tracked Roadside Public Spaces Program in an initiative to stimulate transport alternatives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and develop safe cycling routes.

Above: Eurobodalla Council’s road safety officer Kate McDougall (right) with Batemans Bay Cycles owners Vicki and Kate test the new bike lanes on Beach Road. In a regional first, new line marking allows on-road cycling to connect Batehaven with Surf Beach, and the Bay CBD.