The Toowoomba Region’s ambition to be a nationally significant mountain biking destination is a step closer following this week’s Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) December Ordinary meeting.

Council on Tuesday (December 17) endorsed the Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley Escarpment Mountain Bike Master Plan 2019-26.

TRC Parks and Recreation Services portfolio leader Cr Joe Ramia said the endorsement of the Master Plan allowed Council to continue with design development, construction and maintenance of proposed mountain bike trails.

“It also supports the implementation of critical components of Council’s Toowoomba Region Trails Network Strategy 2016.Cr Ramia said Council had worked in collaboration with the Lockyer Valley Regional Council (LVRC), with support from the Queensland Government, to develop a master plan that set the future direction of mountain bike activities along The Range escarpment,” Cr Ramia said.

He said the Mountain Bike Master Plan’s key recommendations included developing an additional 68km of mountain bike trails across 24 new trails in Jubilee and Redwood Parks. The trails would be a mix of beginner (green) to advanced level (black and double black) trails that are required to achieve the trail volume and proficiency mix for a nationally significant mountain bike destination.

“The Master Plan recommends developing the Bridge Street Quarry site as the primary access area (and a likely event hosting space) in Toowoomba to the trail network at Jubilee and Redwood Parks, with secondary access points off Harvey and Wooldridge streets,” Cr Ramia said.

“The Master Plan outlines a clear approval process backed by guiding principles for Council and the community to follow when considering the development of new mountain bike trails.

“The trails are important natural assets and appropriate, unobtrusive upgrading or the establishment of new multi-use trails (for walking, running, bike riding and horse riding) will expand recreation options for residents and visitors.

“Council is very mindful of protecting the environmental significance of escarpment bushland parks and any future works will be subject to environmental assessment and consultation.

“Future design of any trail development will be subject to further community consultation and targeted engagement with all stakeholders.”

Cr Ramia said the potential joint economic benefits of expanding the trails to a nationally significant mountain bike standard could be in the order of $20 million to the region each year.

The Queensland Government provided $25,000 to TRC & LVRC to develop the Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley Escarpment Mountain Bike Master Plan 2019-2026 to enable Queenslanders to participate in sport and recreation activities.