THE way is now cleared for the Great Southern Rail Trail to be extended from Leongatha to Nyora.
South Gippsland Shire CEO Tim Tamlin last week met with Peter Chau, Executive General Manager of Property at VicTrack to sign a heads of agreement document to give the council the green light to extend the trail firstly from Leongatha to Korumburra.
Mr Tamlin said he was very pleased that the council finally had security of access to the rail corridor enabling the rail trail to proceed once funding is secured.
“The Heads of Agreement will eventually be superseded with a lease. The lease is still some time away from being finalised as this stretch of land has proved to be surprisingly complex.
“There have been so many bits and pieces that have been accessed by adjoining landholders over the years and this all needs to be resolved.
“Our initial aim was to have a document from VicTrack confirming access to the Leongatha to Korumburra corridor.
“This would allow council to pursue the establishment of this section without further delay.
“However, Peter and his team have provided us with a much greater section, all the way to Nyora.
“This will help us to progress the trail to Nyora and beyond. VicTrack have certainly been a wonderfully proactive team of people to deal with,” Mr Tamlin said.
The council recently engaged SGS Economics to undertake a cost benefit analysis and economic impact study for an extension of the trail from Leongatha to Clyde and other connections such as Nyora to Woolamai.
South Gippsland Shire is working with Cardinia Shire Council, City of Casey and Bass Coast Shire Council for the extension of the rail trail which could ultimately create a 168km trail from Clyde to Yarram with coastal links to Port Welshpool, Port Albert and coastal areas in Bass Coast, making it the largest rail trail in Australia.
“I understand that the community has been anxious for us to get on with work on extending the rail trail that will connect our two major towns, and this is our first priority now that we have the security of this agreement.
“Not only can we get on with initial preparatory activities, we can also commence our work seeking grant funding for the construction of the trail.
“This is a very exciting moment for the future of South Gippsland,” Mr Tamlin said.