Fernleigh Awabakal Shared Track (FAST)
- Project typeActive transport infrastructure
Lake Macquarie City Council is in the planning and design phase for the Fernleigh Awabakal Shared Track (FAST), a 3.5km shared pathway linking the end of the Fernleigh Track at Belmont with Blacksmiths Beach.
This project will create a 27km continuous walking and cycling route from Murrays Beach to Adamstown, improving lifestyle and fitness in the community, showcasing Lake Macquarie’s natural assets and increasing active transport options.
Once completed, it will be part of the longest continuous footpath and cycleway in the Hunter Region, opening up potential for Lake Macquarie to host major community fitness events.
Extensive community consultation will take place throughout the project’s detailed design stage to ensure views on how the project is delivered are heard.
A drop-in information session was held at Brandt Close, Belmont, Tuesday 3 March, with another held on Wednesday 4 March on the corner of Beach Street and Ocean Park Road.
The community was also invited to share its thoughts during an initial consultation period via the project's online forum available at shape.lakemac.com.au.
Further consultation - both in-person and online - will be undertaken as the project progresses.
Join the conversation
Detailed design will help determine the best route, with Council considering various options to provide the best result for the community, within budgetary limitations.
The route will run off the Fernleigh Track terminal at Belmont, taking in Belmont Lagoon before crossing Cold Tea Creek. It will then pass Beach Street Oval onto Ocean Park Road.
From there, the route continues onto Green Street, past Belmont Cemetery and then heads west to join the Pacific Highway.
The path alignment avoids residential streets wherever possible.
Surveyors pegged out potential sections of the route in early 2020 to provide a more precise insight into property boundaries and challenges that will need to be resolved in the design.
Geotechnical investigations along key locations along the southern section of the track took place in February, 2020. This involved machinery mounted on a ute or trailer taking borehole soil samples up to one metre in depth.
The samples provided an insight into ground structure and stability, with results assisting the track's design and construction.
The project has the backing of local MPs, the RMS, NRMA, Hunter Business Chamber, City of Newcastle, Bahtabah Local Aboriginal Land Council, The Heart Foundation, Newcastle Cycleways Movement, and various other peak sporting, business and tourism groups.
NSW Government funding
NSW Government awarded the project $7.4 million in funding through Round Two of its Regional Growth Environment and Tourism Fund. Council will contribute the remaining funds to ensure the track's completion. Total project cost is estimated at approximately $12 million.
Return of public land
The project may require return of relatively small parcels of public land along the track route, historically used by private property owners for their own purposes. Council will liaise with affected property owners throughout the process to ensure they are aware of the situation, their rights and Council's rights.