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Let’s ride the trail

Cycling route would speed up economy


CYCLING CRAZE: John Kennedy from Korumburra said he received more than 3000 signatures for a bike trail between Leongatha and Korumburra, to boost the economy and locals’ fitness.

SO many towns across Victoria with a strong bike culture are booming.

Look at Bright and Myrtleford’s thriving tourism and economy, and how many biking events are held there.

The proof is in the pudding.

Why is it then that we still lack a bike trail from Leongatha to Korumburra?

Korumburra’s John Kennedy is pushing for the rail trail to be turned into a bike and walking trail which he believes will stimulate the economy for the two towns.

“It’s a matter of urgency as businesses in both towns are on their knees,” he said.

“We have no bike culture in these two towns as roads are too narrow and dangerous.”

Mr Kennedy has been in discussions with South Gippsland Shire Council who have said they are looking at connecting with other councils, such as Cardinia Shire Council, to create a larger trail.

But Mr Kennedy said action is needed now, even if initially it’s just a bike path from Leongatha to Korumburra, with the possibility to extend to Loch and Nyora in future.  

“Council says it’s on their list of things to do, but this has been going on for nearly two years,” he said.

Gilbert Rochecouste, an internationally recognised speaker and facilitator, visited Leongatha in May last year to speak with the community regarding innovation in business and in public spaces.

During the talk, Mr Rochecouste revealed one and half million people will drive one and half hours from Melbourne every weekend.

Korumburra falls within that radius.

With a bike trail, Mr Kennedy said the area would draw a lot more people, from biking enthusiasts to families.

“They will have to fill their cars up at our service stations to get back to Melbourne, they will go to our cafes and pubs and will sleep in our motels,” he said.

“Everyone gets a bit and I predict it would lift business by 10 to 15 per cent.

“It would also bring fresh blood to the area who might decide to stay. We could be selling once house a month.”

Not only will locals benefit from improved economy, but Mr Kennedy said the trail will also mean children can safely ride between towns for school, people can ride to work, fun runs can be held along the trail, and it would promote fitness between the two towns.

Mr Kennedy spoke with two local contractors about the project.

One contractor quoted 23 days for the railway line and sleepers to be removed, and another 24 days to complete the track.

“It would be done and dusted in two months maximum with handrails and bridges,” Mr Kennedy said.

“It would be under one million to complete, and once it’s down, there shouldn’t be any further costs.

“The benefits would be enormous.”

Mr Kennedy understood some people would be against the bike path, as it would mean removing the railway.

“If later on they say the train is coming back, then they could put the train back. But let’s use the track for the next 15 years or so as a bike trail and boost our economy,” he said.

Council informed The Star there had been no progression with the rail trail project, saying it was still working on advocacy to attract funding.

 

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=29572

Posted by on Jul 23 2019. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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