Mackay Bluewater Trail: encouraging walking and cycling

The Bluewater Trail is a key component of council’s Bluewater Activation Strategy which looks to develop a range of activities along the riverfront and inner city beachfront through leisure opportunities and selective commercial and residential projects.

There are six key sites along the shared pathway including the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens, Sandfly Creek Environmental walkway, Catherine Freeman walk, the free three tiered Bluewater Lagoon swimming facility, Bluewater Quay Public Open Space and Iluka Park, home of the recently completed all abilities playground.  There are also 2 public fishing platforms that provide another recreational opportunity along the trail.

The project addresses local and regional objectives for improving community well being and recreational opportunities.¬† It provides a mixed use integrated trail through environmental and green space areas and the city’s beaches with links to popular recreational destinations such as the Bluewater swimming Lagoon, Bluewater Quay and Botanic Gardens.

The primary purpose of the Bluewater Trail is to facilitate pedestrian and cyclist-friendly activities that can be enjoyed anytime during the day or night. The project is underpinned by the Bluewater Activation Strategy and the Wharf Precinct Masterplan. The Wharf Precinct Master plan was adopted in 2004 and was a key component of the City Centre Revitalisation Strategy. The Bluewater Activation Strategy was endorsed in early 2006, with the aim of increasing activity along the river front, along with rejuvenating the old wharf area and developing links to key sites such as the Botanic Gardens and city beaches.

Collaborative funding from the three levels of government and a willingness to enhance the liveability and physical activity of the region has been critical to creating this landmark trail. Ongoing liaison with Council’s Mobility and Access Advisory Committee, Natural Environment Advisory Committee and the Mackay Physical Activity Reference Group provided the community with a platform to address a range of issues. Community consultation has also been an integral part of the project. An 11-thousand strong petition was the catalyst for the development of the Bluewater Lagoon aquatic facility on the banks of the Pioneer River.

Community awareness has grown significantly over the past 12 months with the completion of the two signature recreational nodes as part of the trail. The creation of the walkway has helped foster a sense of community well being and provided a facility that meets key objectives of council’s Corporate Plan. The major long term objective of the Bluewater Trail is to ensure it remains a focal point of recreation for local residents, visitors and business leaders for many years to come.

Planning is everything, and communication is critical when constructing something of this size. Being clear on your objectives assists in the planning stages, and ensuring you consult with your constituents will keep you on the right path. The main challenges faced during the various stages of construction was the inclement weather at times, preserving  the natural environment, and ensuring the trail was accessible to the community as a whole.

For further information, go to:

or please contact Mackay Regional Council Manager Recreation Services, on 1300 622 529.