Rail trail open for business

THE newest section of the Great Southern Rail Trail was officially opened on Sunday, attracting a huge crowd wanting to take on the path from Foster’s Station Park to Toora’s Sagasser Park.
Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan was joined by Federal Member for McMillan Russell Broadbent to cut the ribbon marking the occasion.
President of the Great Southern Rail Trail committee of management Neville Pulham said it was a brilliant turnout considering the blustery weather.
“What is happening at the Foster Station Park is magic. I think Foster is set to become the hub for the rail trail,” he said.
“Investigations on the Black Spur section are ongoing to try and get it happening. The bridges, which are heritage listed, need to be evaluated to work out if we can put something on top of them.
“We need to determine how much it will cost to make the structures safe.”
Mr Pulham said having the Black Spur section of the trail opened would make the whole region boom.
“Our next step is to work with South Gippsland Shire Council to promote each town with signage along the trail, describing the town’s facilities and attractions,” he said.
“People in the towns along the trail are crying out for it.”
Mr Ryan said the Foster to Toora section completed stage one of the $2.9 million three stage extension project, which received $2 million in funding support from the Victorian Government.
“The Foster to Toora section involved the construction of 8.6km of trail, including the installation of four bridges and associated infrastructure such as signage, seating, bike parking and safety crossings,” he said.
“This is the first stage of a total of 18.5km worth of extensions to the Great Southern Rail Trail that will link Foster to Welshpool.
“Stage two of the project, which involves an extension from Toora to Agnes, will begin later this year, with stage three from Agnes to Welshpool to begin next year.”
Mr Ryan said the trail, which starts in Leongatha, was a fantastic asset for South Gippsland.
“Once complete, this extension is expected to generate around $5.5 million from increased tourism for the region over a three year period,” he said.
“Extending the rail trail has been a high priority for the South Gippsland Shire Council and the committee of management for many years, and we are now one step closer towards the completion of this important project.”

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=8256

Posted by on Aug 27 2013. Filed under Community, Featured. 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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