Rail trail grows

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Rail trail grows

THE latest section of the Great Southern Rail Trail, between Toora and Welshpool, was officially opened on Saturday.

Rail trail chairperson Neville Pulham singled out former Gippsland South MLA Peter Ryan for special praise, calling him the “Godfather of the project”.

“His guidance since 1997 has been unbelievable, keeping us on the straight and narrow to complete the rail trail,” Mr Pulham said.

Bike riders turned out in their hundreds for the opening of the newest completed section. The complete section from Foster to Welshpool is valued at $2.9 million, including $900,000 from South Gippsland Shire Council.

Cyclists were joined by walkers and the odd horse rider as the ribbon was cut to allow them all to experience the new section for themselves.

Special guests at the opening included council mayor Cr Jeanette Harding, Labor’s Eastern Victoria Region MLC Harriet Shing and The Nationals’ Eastern Victoria Region MLC Danny O’Brien.

The 10km section between Toora and Welshpool links with the 8.4km Foster to Toora section that opened in August 2014.

In opening the latest section, Ms Shing praised the work of the rail trail committee and council.

“The Great Southern Rail Trail, although incomplete, is proving to be a big attraction for the region, and lays the foundations for a significant state, national and international tourist attraction,” Ms Shing said.

“The magnificent Toora to Welshpool extension will capitalise on nearby Wilsons Promontory National Park and provide another nature based experience for the region.

“This (the rail trail) will draw users, not only from across Victoria and Australia but from around the world.”

Cr Harding extended her thanks on behalf of councillors to all who worked hard to make the new section of the rail trail a reality.

“It has been a long time coming and a lot of hard work to make it happen,” she said.

“We now have just one more section, The Black Spur at Koonwarra, to complete and the Great Southern Trail will then run for 68km from Leongatha to Port Welshpool.

“The rail trail makes for a safe and pleasurable trip for bike riders, walkers and horse riders who can enjoy the scenery safely.”

The rail trail is expected to create 31 full-time jobs and bring more than $1.8 million into the local economy annually.

Members of the rail trail continue to work with landholders and council to ensure maintenance programs are in place.

It is hoped the rail trail will eventually be connected to the Alberton Rail Trail, which would mean the trail would extend from Leongatha to Yarram.

Celebrations: Great Southern Trail Rail committee member Bruce Beatson and hundreds of bike riders cheer as the Toora to Welshpool section of the trail is opened to the public on Saturday.

Celebrations: Great Southern Trail Rail committee member Bruce Beatson and hundreds of bike riders cheer as the Toora to Welshpool section of the trail is opened to the public on Saturday.

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Posted by on Feb 11 2015. Filed under 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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