Richmond Vale Rail Trail

I have been provided with this information on the Richmond Vale Rail Trail shared pathway proposal being put forward by Newcastle City Council in conjunction with Cessnock and Lake Macquarie City Councils.

The approximately 32-kilometre cycling and walking track is proposed to run 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. This occasional newsletter provides more detail about the concept design and the planning process.

Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Cessnock City Councils are committed to engaging with the community and other relevant stakeholders to have their opinions, values and different perspectives understood so that they may be considered in the planning process, thereby improving the quality of the final outcome. GHD has been engaged to assist in preparing the concept design and environmental assessment, and to manage community engagement.

The environmental assessment will provide comprehensive investigations of the environmental and social impacts and opportunities of the proposed shared pathway, including any community concerns which will be considered and addressed as part of the process.

Four community information drop-in sessions will be held between 3 and 10 November 2016 to display the concept design and hear from the community about any impacts or issues that they believe should be considered in the development of the project and answer any questions they may have. This information will help inform the environmental assessment.

GHD will ensure that there are communication channels for all stakeholders who have questions or concerns regarding the proposal and ensure that the surrounding community is aware of the project and potential impacts. All enquiries, complaints and consultation activities will be captured in a database to ensure efficient follow-up and record keeping.

The project team has already engaged with landholders who will be directly impacted by the proposal and will continue to engage with stakeholders during the approvals process ensuring that open and informative communication exists. The completed environmental impact statement will be exhibited in due course.

The community is encouraged to contact the project team to ask questions and find out more information via the free-call community line 1800 066 243 or by email to community.input@ghd.com. Project details are also available on the Newcastle City Council website.