Darryl Low Choy and Steve MacDonald: Active Trails: lessons from a collaborative initiative

The Active Trails program was formally announced by the Queensland State Government in January 2007. This followed a two year collaborative planning phase which was facilitated by the Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation in partnership with Queensland Health, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Natural Resources and Water and Department of Local Government, Planning, Sport and Recreation and the South East Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (now Council of Mayors).

This regional trails program was an initiative of the predecessor to the current Regional Landscape and Open Space Advisory Committee. It involves the construction of three new regional recreation trails, the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail (160km), Ipswich to Boonah Recreation Trail (76km) and Maroochy River Canoe Trail (28km). The Active Trails initiative is being implemented over 5 years (2007 to 2012). While the construction of the trails is being overseen by the Department of Infrastructure and Planning, implementation will require a collaborative approach amongst a number of state agencies, local governments and non-government and community organisations.

This paper will outline the lessons learnt to date in the collaborative approaches that have and are being employed for the planning, management and implementation of this regional scale environmental infrastructure initiative. The paper will also highlight how the Active Trails program is being employed to support the implementation of the regional landscape framework for rapidly growing regions such as South East Queensland.

The paper asks the question: What collaborative arrangements across institutional and spatial boundaries are required to successfully implement regional scale environmental infrastructure such as a regional trails network?