THE Newtownabbey Way walking and cycling route was officially opened last week by Mayor Victor Robinson and Environment Minister Alex Attwood.
Pupils from Mossley, Earlview and St MacNissi’s Primary Schools joined council and community representatives, Sustrans volunteers and officers from the PSNI’s Neighbourhood Policing Team at Mossley Mill on Wednesday, October 24 for the unveiling of the new amenity.
The ambitious project, which has taken 14 years to complete, provides a network of walking and cycling routes through the urban part of Newtownabbey, running from Corr’s Corner, through Mossley Mill, Threemilewater Park and Monkstown Wood to Whiteabbey Glen and on to Loughshore Park at Jordanstown.
The project, originally conceived as the ‘Millennium Way’ in the late 1990’s, was funded by Newtownabbey Borough Council, the Big Lottery Fund through transport charity Sustrans and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. It now becomes part of National Cycle Network Route 93 and the Ulster Way.
Keen pedestrians and cyclists have already been making use of the path, which the council hopes will be a major attraction for both residents and visitors to the borough.
Expressing his pride in the impressive new resource, alderman Victor Robinson commented: “People using this path will have a fantastic experience. The route, which has been greatly enhanced by the addition of new bridges, has opened up access to what is an exceptionally beautiful area. The completion of this project is linked to a key theme in the council’s Corporate Plan of encouraging and supporting healthier lifestyles. With the majority of the path away from main roads, cyclists and pedestrians have a scenic, traffic free route for leisure and commuting purposes all the way from Corr’s Corner to the Loughshore path at Whiteabbey.”
The local scheme is part of a national project from Sustrans, creating new walking and cycling routes in communities across the UK.
Steven Patterson, Sustrans Director said: “The Newtownabbey Way is a great resource for the local community. We would encourage people to try using the path for their everyday trips to the shops and commute to work, as well as for enjoying a leisurely walk or cycle through the pleasant rural environment the route offers.”
Councillor Ken Robinson, who has championed the project since its inception, welcomed the unveiling of the finished route, describing it as a space that can be shared by the whole community. And he thanked all those who worked so hard over so many years to bring the ambitious project to fruition.
During the launch event, a special memento was presented to long-serving Sustrans volunteer Sally Liya from Merville Garden Village, who has been a keen supporter of the Newtownabbey Way project.
For more information about the route log on to www.newtownabbey.gov.uk/newtownabbeyway