IT’S a no brainer, according to rail trail enthusiast John Kennedy of Korumburra.
And thousands of people have signed a petition in support.
The first extension of the Great Southern Rail Trail that should be funded, the one that will benefit the lives of the most South Gippsland Shire residents, is the missing link between Leongatha and Korumburra.
Champion of that cause, John Kennedy says he’s got the numbers and in a review of the shire’s budget, he says councillors should immediately switch the $1 million allocated for the extension of the rail from Welshpool to Hedley, into the Korumburra-Leongatha section.
“I support the extension of the rail trail both ways, don’t get me wrong, but you’ve got a much bigger local population up this end, plus it’s closer to the population centres of Melbourne and fits into our strategy for expanding visitor opportunities.
“It’s just a matter of getting the priorities right,” Mr Kennedy said.
“And I think we’ve just about got them (the councillors) to agree.”
The shire council has provisionally allocated $1 million to the extension of the Great Southern Rail Trail to Hedley in the shire’s east so it can link up with the trail coming from Yarram, funded via the Wellington Shire.
But Mr Kennedy says the council should change its mind.
There’s a further $3 million provisionally allocated in the 2019-20 shire budget, depending on government support and $3 million more slated for 2022-23.
Those wishing to make a budget submission for this or other changes have until next Thursday, April 26 and they can opt to support their submission at a hearing before the council on May 23.
The petition called for the Great Southern Rail Trail to be extended from Leongatha to Korumburra and then onwards to Loch and Nyora.