In 1982, then chief engineer at Blue Mountains Council, John Metcalfe, had a vision of a walk from Wentworth Falls to the marked tree at Katoomba – all along the cliff tops.
Some 20-odd years later, Leura Bushcare worker Norm Harris and his wife, Laurel, took up the cause, convincing the Conservation Society that it would be a “great tourist attraction”.
And last week, the NSW Government announced a $10 million grant for an “significant upgrade to the 13.6 kilometre grand cliff top walk”.
Mr Harris was “ecstatic” at the news.
“I’m so delighted. I just want them to do it,” he said.
The crucial missing links are from the Fairmont Resort around to Sublime Point.
But Mr Harris believes a path could be built 60 metres from the rear of properties on Sublime Point Road, which would be invisible to, and not interfere with, the private land owners who live there.
Some years ago he wrote to Waverley Council, asking how it had managed to secure land to complete the Federation Cliff Walk from Watsons Bay to Bondi.
Council replied it had unsuccessfully negotiated with a private land owner but later was able to compulsorily acquire an easement because the land was zoned “regional open space”.
Mr Harris is hoping such an approach may work around Sublime Point Road.
He praised the efforts of Blue Mountains MP, Trish Doyle, for raising the issue with then premier, Mike Baird, in 2015, which included sending him detailed maps and concept plans.
“I’ve contacted all the state MPs – Bob Debus, Phil Koperberg, Roza Sage and Trish and Trish is the only one that’s done anything,” Mr Harris said.
Ms Doyle said: “Mr Harris has been plugging away quietly at this proposal for many years, and the announcement of $10 million for stage one of the grand cliff top walk is a testament to his methodical, thorough and expert analysis of the project.
“I am thrilled to have been able to help Mr Harris put forward this proposal and see it come to fruition after four years of making representations to the government on his behalf,” she said.
The premier, Gladys Berejiklian, also announced funding of $9.9 million to upgrade access to iconic lookout points in the Mountains so they comply with mobility impaired access standards.