Narooma Cycle Path for the People and by the People

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Wellington, New Zealand, April 2015

Narooma Cycle Path

What happens when a town feels the need to have their own cycle path? Well, easy, you build one. That is exactly what happened in the towns of Narooma-Kianga-Dalmeny in Australia in 2005.

A small but memorable 6.5 km cycle path that connected the towns was build by the hands of the people that formed the Narooma-Kianga-Dalmeny Cycleway Group .

Apparently when the initiative to make the cycle path was proposed, everyone was supporting it, even their local government headed at the time by Eurobodalla Shire Council Mayor Neil Mumme. However when it came down to the sad facts of numbers, the local government realized they could not afford to realize this incredible idea. So the people made it happen.

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So”, Colin our couchsurfeing host explained us, ”the town decided to negotiate with the local government by asking them to fund the material to build the cycle path, in exchange the people from the town would work on it every weekend until they finish it”.

In April 2006, volunteer workmen and workwomen started placing formwork and reinforcing steel on one day and pouring concrete on the other. The whole town got involved, special morning teas where made to support the workers who had nothing in it, except for the feeling of accomplishment to make their towns more beautiful and cycle friendly.

They started in Kianga and ended up in Dalmeny, in order to link the rest of the cycle paths that already existed at the time. It took them 5 years and more than 100 volunteer workers to finish the cycle path. Their work saved around $600,000 Aussie Dollars and earned them special recognitions like the Community Award in 2010 of New South Wales.

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The construction of the cycle path also granted the community a great sense of camaraderie. Schools, small businesses, individuals and organizations all helped to found the project. In addition they also granted a great example for the work to follow. An idea I aim to pursue in Mexico if all things with the good old gov fail.

On top of it all, the cycle path roughly follows a sacred path trodden by the Aboriginal Australians and then the early settlers. So every now and then you would read about the path’s history, including how in certain bays the killer whales and the Aboriginals made a partnership that enabled them to fish together. A piece of information that I found extremely outstanding.

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When Colin took us for the first time through the cycle path, we enjoyed it a lot. We thought and we still do, it is one of the most beautiful cycle paths we have ever ridden, but after we learned the story behind it we could only feel respect and gratitude to the people who had the vision to give the world an excellent view of their town from the uncomfortable seat.

Narooma Cycle Path Pics

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