But I wouldn't be holding my breath waiting for a massive visitor influx. It might happen, but I suspect that we're better off looking after the locals and taking any increase in out-of-towners as a welcome but unexpected bonus.

The Front Beach and the developing network of parks and walkways between Yasso Point and Horseshoe Bay are a pretty good start as far as public recreational space is concerned. 

What we need is a gradual extension of the existing spaces to the point where, perhaps, we've got an network of parks, walking tracks, bikeways and other facilities covering a large slice of the area from the Front Beach around to Yasso Point taking in Flagstaff Hill and Horseshoe Bay along the way.

Looking at things that way, you'd think that an extension of the Front Beach development around the back of the proposed marina development over Magazine Creek towards Flagstaff Hill would be a pretty logical move.

That's not suggesting that you'd look at spending mega-dollars along the way, of course. You'd start with a walking track and bikeway that'd take people to the foot of Flagstaff Hill without setting foot on the roadway.

Along the way there might be space for the odd extra enhancement, but you'd expect to focus on the destination rather than the route you'd use to get there.

Hopefully, that'd make Flagstaff Hill and the Interpretative Centre up there more accessible. You could walk there along these new tracks, and a car park at the foot of the hill at Kings Beach would give people the option of driving there and going for a climb or wander along the beach towards Rose Bay. Something similar at the end of Kings Beach Road would probably work as well. 

If those places were linked by a couple of further walking tracks/bikeways you'd be opening a couple of other exercise options for local residents.

Now, I'm no expert on government grants, but given the emphasis that's being given to developing healthy lifestyles I'd be surprised if you couldn't crack some of the funding needed for these things from State and federal government coffers.

As far as I can make out, most of the wetland behind Kings Beach is going to stay the way it is, more or less in perpetuity, so what you'd end up with would be, in effect, a substantial nature reserve with access routes that allow pedestrians and cyclists to pass through the area.

You'd also expect that there'd be a number of small developments along the pathways as people identified points of interest that could be developed or enhanced. That might be as little as a seat under a shady tree, a grassed area that'd suit picnickers  or a sign indicating a site of possible interest.

It'd be a slow gradual process, but as some of that infrastructure extended beyond what we've got already we're generating recreational areas that may well interest visitors and add a few more excuses for them to contribute to the word-of-mouth publicity that may well induce increasing numbers to turn off the highway.

 © Ian Hughes 2014