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MEDIA RELEASE - Have your say on tracks and trails

29 January 2020

Public assistance is sought to guide future development of Glenelg Shire’s tracks and trails to support community needs and unlock new tourism and business opportunities.

Creating greater connectivity, boosting visitation and tourism investment and supporting improved health and well being outcomes are key focuses of the Glenelg Shire Tracks and Trails Strategy which recommends investment in key routes across the shire, identifying important infrastructure needs.

Some of the identified actions include expanding the Portland foreshore walk to link with Bolwarra and Narrawong, strategic investment in short walks across the Great South West Walk and developing Dartmoor’s rail corridor linking to Fort O’Hare in an effort to establish the township as a gateway for paddling.

This new report is supported by the Casterton to Branxholme Rail Trail Feasibility Strategy, which investigates the shared use of 59km of disused rail line from Casterton to Sandford and further south to Merino and Branxholme to leverage greater tourism visitation to the region, targeting cyclists and horse trail riders.

The rail line, which still includes the historic Wannon River timber bridge, was closed in 1977 with much of the rail line, sleepers and bridge infrastructure removed with much of the opened to grazing.

Glenelg Shire Mayor Cr Anita Rank said actively connecting people, places and spaces was a key commitment of the Glenelg Shire Council Plan 2017-2021 which committed to developing the Tracks and Trails Strategy following widespread community feedback.

She said the strategy covered everything from suburban paths to forested and beach walking trails in remote locations across the shire.

“Our shire is fortunate to have some amazing walking tracks and bike trails, but it is clear that connections between trails and key infrastructure such as signage to support the visitor experiences is lacking, or in some cases altogether missing,” Cr Rank said.

“The Tracks and Trails Strategy identifies key actions where strategic investment can be made to improve the experience and importantly encourage greater community participation and attract more visitors to our region to explore the diverse attractions and remarkable landscapes we have to offer.

“With the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape on the eve of attracting hundreds of international and domestic tourists each week, it is critical that there are similar nature-based experiences on offer to encourage greater length of stay and yield for our business community.

“This could include the creation of new events capitalising on local trails, such as a mountain bike riding competition, more local Park Run events, trail running experiences, geocaching or other recreational activities. Furthermore, it could include the construction of new trails or rejuvenating old routes like the Dartmoor rail line precinct to capture new visitors to the region.”

The Glenelg Shire Tracks and Trails Strategy and Casterton to Branxholme Rail Feasibility Strategy are on public exhibition to Wednesday 26 February via the Your Say website https://yoursay.glenelg.vic.gov.au/

Community engagement sessions will be held with the report consultants next month including Wednesday 12 February from 1pm to 3pm, at the Heywood Customer Service Centre followed from 4pm to 6pm at the Portland Customer Service Centre reception room from 4pm to 6pm.

A session will be held in Casterton on Wednesday 20 February at the Australian Kelpie Centre from 1.30pm – 3pm and 4pm – 6pm.


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