December 4, 2014
Horses may still be allowed on some sections of the Kingaroy-Kilkivan rail trail between Kingaroy and Wondai.
But the areas where horses could be permitted will depend on the results of public consultations.
Until that time, the Kingaroy-Murgon stretch will remain “animal free” in the short term to protect the interests of existing landholders.
At last week’s Council meeting, Mayor Wayne Kratzmann announced that horses would be allowed on the Murgon-Kilkivan stretch of the trail once it opened because that portion of the trail was in an existing “ticky” area.
“That’s a no-brainer because all of it is outside the tick-free zone,” the Mayor said.
“This section also works in perfectly with the Kilkivan area, the home of the Great Kilkivan Horse Ride and the Bicentennial National Trail, which passes through the town.”
But the southern section between Kingaroy and Murgon, which crosses the tick line and control zone areas set up around it to protect landowners from contamination, is a different matter.
“Riparian landowners who are in the tick-free area have spent an enormous amount of money to maintain their tick-free status. This cannot be put at risk by having horses on the rail trail from day one,” the Mayor said.
However, he did not rule out that horses would still be able to use some sections of the trail between Kingaroy and Wondai once community consultations had taken place.
“We have nearly 80km of trail and there will be something for everyone, but only proper consultation will ensure we pick the right mix of options.”
Cr Ros Heit said today she was in favour of opening part of the southern section of the trail for horse-riders – possibly between Kingaroy and Wooroolin.
“This area is entirely outside the tick control zone and horses using it wouldn’t pose any risk to landholders in the more sensitive sections,” she said.
Cr Heit said she knew of many horse riders in the area who’d welcome a Kingaroy-Wooroolin horse trail, and she would be proposing this when the matter came up for discussion in Council.
But she agreed with the Mayor’s views on protecting landholders in the control zone areas, and was supportive of an initial ban on animals in the southern section until mutually agreed boundaries had been sorted out with the community.
The Mayor and senior Natural Resource Management staff will next week meet with Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney to discuss the draft project plan for the Kingaroy-Kilkivan Rail Trail.
Council has prepared a funding proposal with basic project milestones to secure the first release of funds which will enable development of the trail to proceed.
“Once the Council has approval to advance the project to the next stage, we will be engaging in a consultation process to ensure the best outcome for trail users as well as our community,” the Mayor said.