Shire notes: following the rail trail

At last week’s ordinary Council meeting, Councillors unanimously agreed to take another step toward finding out more about creating a recreational trail on the disused track from Sandy Hollow to Merriwa. 

Council in partnership with Muswellbrook Council has already funded a feasibility study by experts in rail trails and they recommended a Trail Development Plan be developed.

There are beautiful landscapes between Merriwa and Sandy Hollow that would be popular for a walk, cycle or leisurely horse riding and it would be great to see more tourists coming to our area. 

However there are also many problems that would need to be solved before we start building a rail trail, including concerns of some adjoining landowners and acquiring grant funding.

Expect much more community discussion about this over coming years.

If you are interested in the potential of a rail trail you can read the Upper Hunter Country Rail Trail Feasibility Study 

available on Council’s website at under “Read all Recent News” or search for “Rail Trail’.

Welcoming new committee

Council’s varied businesses and interests are taken care of by dozens of different committees. 

You may not hear much about them but they are very active behind the scenes and do very important work for our community.

One committee I chair is the Management Committee for Merriwa’s Gummun Place Hostel and we recently held our AGM where the management committee were re-elected. 

The committee works with the hostel staff to provide the best facility, activities and services for the residents. 

We are always looking for fresh faces with enthusiastic ideas to complement the committee that’s there and would very much welcome new members.

There are many different Council committees and probably at least one that fits your interests and you could contribute. 

Find out more at any Council office.

MORE DISCUSSION TO COME: Councillor Deirdre Peebles.

MORE DISCUSSION TO COME: Councillor Deirdre Peebles.

Festivals on the way

Murrurundi’s King of the Ranges is at the end of February, the Horse Festival is in May and Merriwa’s Festival of the Fleeces is the first weekend in June. 

Find out about these attractions and many more through our Visitor Information Centres on the website or look out for the soon to be released Upper Hunter Country Guide.

Australia Day

Our celebrations for Australia Day will be finished by the time you read this but I hope you and your loved ones celebrated in style. 

Council puts a lot of work into the different activities in Aberdeen, Merriwa, Murrurundi and Scone on this day and particularly the Australia Day awards. 

Congratulations to everyone who was nominated for an Australia Day Award. 

I would like to congratulate our winners in each town, and especially the overall Citizen of the Year and Young Citizen of the Year over the entire Shire.

Bypass, overpass plans

Time is running out to make needed changes to Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) plans for the Scone bypass and overpass.

Our priorities had always been about achieving unrestricted access for emergency services vehicles, and reducing the number of heavy vehicles in the CBD.

I am encouraging residents to attend the next Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) drop-in information sessions on Thursday, February 4, 3pm to 7pm, and Friday February 5, 10am to 2pm.