For more than 10 years Merimbula resident Daryl Dobson has had one big dream – that a shared path be installed from Rotary Park to the Merimbula Wharf.
And at midday on Tuesday, June 20, Mr Dobson was informed that his dream will soon become a reality.
Member for Bega Andrew Constance confirmed the NSW Budget has set aside $2million to invest in the shared path.
For 14 months members of the Bureau of Accessible Tourism (BOAT) Daryl Dobson, Colin Dunn, Steve Goodchild and Ron Finneran have been working with council and members of parliament in the push to make this dream a reality, but they said they never expected it to happen this fast.
Upon hearing the announcement Daryl Dobson let out a huge cheer and threw his hands in the air.
“I was in shock. This is so exciting for the town,” Mr Dobson said.
Mr Dobson said his desire for a shared path came from ongoing safety concerns for cyclists and pedestrians on the side of the road between Rotary Park and the Merimbula Wharf.
“From my balcony I see this road and I often see mums with prams, cyclists including kids on bikes, tourists and locals all being narrowly missed by cars as they round corners,” Mr Dobson said.
“I also know of a number of people who have injured themselves walking on the uneven road.”
As part of its push for the pathway, BOAT enlisted the help of civil engineer David Buckley who volunteered his time to produce a feasibility study and design a plan.
Mr Dobson and Mr Dunn believe that it was thanks to Mr Buckley and the letters of support from various groups and organisations, including the local police station, that the path has been given the go ahead.
“The path will be 2.4 metres wide and two to three metres off the edge of the road there will be sections of bridge and should be through the canopy,” Mr Dunn said.
BOAT reiterated that this new pathway will not interfere with or replace the current Rotary Walk.
Mr Constance said the $2million will be provided to Bega Valley Shire Council who will start planning and construction as soon as possible.
“This will not only better connect two key destinations [Rotary Park and the wharf] in Merimbula, it will also provide another fantastic tourism driver and give the region a further economic boost.”
Mr Dunn said BOAT looked forward to helping council facilitate this project.