- Victorian Coalition Government invests $1.3 million in Great Southern Rail Trail
- Investment completes 2.6 km section of trail between Koonwarra and Meeniyan
- Project will deliver a $1.9 million a year boost to the local economy
Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan yesterday announced funding of $1.3 million for an iconic project known as the Black Spur that will complete an important section of the Great Southern Rail Trail.
In Koonwarra, Mr Ryan said the $1.85 million project would complete the 2.6 kilometre section of the rail trail between Koonwarra and Meeniyan, and create a 69 kilometre route between Leongatha and Welshpool.
Mr Ryan said the Black Spur section would be carried out in two stages, with the first stage to include the construction of new bridges. The works will include:
demolition and reconstruction of two historic bridges spanning the Black Spur Creek;
construction of a 130 metre connecting trail between the two bridges; and
construction of a picnic area and viewing location at the end of the second bridge.
Mr Ryan said stage two would connect the end of the second Black Spur rail trestle bridge and picnic area to Meeniyan. The works will include:
reconstructing a 146 metre bridge that spans the Tarwin River;
constructing a 170 metre connecting trail between two bridges; and
constructing an 800 metre connecting trail between bridge three and Minns Road.
“The Black Spur project will complete the missing section of the rail trail and create a seamless 69 kilometre route between Leongatha and Welshpool,” Mr Ryan said.
Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1.3 million investment included $1 million from the Regional Growth Fund and $290,000 from the Advancing Country Towns program.
Mr Ryan said the South Gippsland Shire Council invested $562,184 towards the project.
“The Great Southern Rail Trail is a major asset to the South Gippsland region, attracting tourists, supporting local businesses and improving the health and wellbeing of local residents,” Mr Ryan said.
“When complete, the Black Spur connection will provide more than $1.9 million in annual economic benefits to the region through tourism-related business opportunities, employment and new attractions.”
Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien welcomed the investment and commended the Great Southern Rail Trail Committee for their work.
“Extending the rail trail has been a high priority for the Coalition Government, the community and the Committee of Management, and thanks to this investment we will now complete another vital link in this impressive rail trail,” Mr O’Brien said.
“This Black Spur leg will consolidate the entire length of the rail trail between Leongatha and Welshpool and represents the realisation of a long held vision for the Great Southern Rail Trail.”
Mr O’Brien said the project would be completed by December 2015.
Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0428 921 404