18 June 2023

Money secured for emergency services station and mountain bike flow trail

| Claire Fenwicke
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A new flow trail from Stromlo to Cotter has been funded in the upcoming ACT Budget. Photo: File.

A home will be created for ambulance and fire services in the Molonglo Valley, while the long-promised flow trail from Stromlo to Cotter will be built, drawing from funds flagged in the upcoming 2023-24 ACT Budget.

Some $65.9 million will be used to build the new emergency services facility, which is expected to be completed in 2025-26.

The project had been flagged as the growing population is expected to have an impact on emergency response times.

“As one of the fastest-growing areas in the ACT, residents in the Molonglo Valley region will have more access to fire and ambulance services with the new emergency services station located in the area,” Chief Minister Andrew Barr said.

“These additional services will also improve community safety through a higher level of emergency services available across the ACT.”

Funding had already been provided in the previous budget for the planning and preliminary design of the joint station for ACT Ambulance Services (ACTAS) and ACT Fire & Rescue (ACTF&R), which will service the Molonglo and associated districts.

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The long-promised mountain biking flow trail from Stromlo to Cotter has also been allocated funding.

It’s as the ACT Government has partnered with the University of Canberra (UC) to deliver $2.8m for improvements to enhance Stromlo Forest Park.

The new 15 km flow trail will receive $1.8m from the Government, and another $1m from a sponsorship agreement with UC for naming and branding rights to the park.

UC Vice-Chancellor Professor Paddy Nixon said the partnership was ideal as it allowed the university to bring research and teaching expertise across sport, tourism and business specialties to examine the “challenges and opportunities” faced by the park.

“UC will benefit from this partnership through access to a world-class sport and recreation facility, through increased collaboration with sporting communities across Australia and internationally, and by building stronger connections and ties with our community to enable learning, sport and social experiences for our students and enhance our research capabilities,” he said.

“We are committed to working with our partners, like Stromlo Forest Park, to help position Canberra as the nation’s preferred study, work and sport destination.”

This additional investment comes after the ACT Government committed to investing paid-parking revenue back into the park.

Paid-parking arrangements will begin following the construction of the formalised carparking facilities towards the end of the year. It’s expected to generate up to $238,000, which will be directly invested back into the park’s tracks and trails, and general maintenance.

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The five-year agreement coincides with the Government’s new Tracks and Trails Masterplan, which will review existing sanctioned tracks and trails, as well as plan for new ones on both the eastern and western sides of the University of Canberra Stromlo Forest Park.

Special Minister of State Chris Steel said there was a need to ensure the facility remained an exciting experience through the development of new, interesting and challenging tracks and trails.

“We have heard from the mountain biking community that designing a new Tracks and Trails Masterplan is the best place to start to guide trail and mountain biking infrastructure investment over the next five years,” he said.

“Engagement on the masterplan is now open, and I would urge anyone with an interest in the park to get involved and help shape the future of this great facility.”

The plan will be created by World Trail and will consult with the community on its design. Pop-up information sessions will also be held on site on 30 June and 1 July.

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