Councils unite behind trail feasibility study 

7 October, 2021

The two shires bracketing the proposed Castlemaine-Maryborough Rail Trail have committed funds for a major feasibility study.

Central Goldfields is the latest contributor agreeing to match the $6K pledged by Mt Alexander recently in its 2021-22 budget.

The shires want to pool the funds to attract State Government funds that are earmarked for tourism studies.

“It’s great to see the shires uniting behind the proposal for a trail,” CMRT Council & Government Liaison lead Janice Simpson said.

“By pooling their funds and collaborating the shires can look forward to unlocking the very positive social and economic impacts of the trail,” Janice said.

The proposed trail’s 55km route along the disused rail corridor runs an almost equal distance across both municipalities. The crossing point is at Joyce’s Creek bordering the scenic Moolort Plains wetlands – a world famous bird habitat.

The councils are also working on a bid for World Heritage listing for the central Goldfields region based on its natural and cultural assets. A trail would bring more visitors to the region and help showcase and connect some of the region’s key features.

“We’re enjoying working with both shires on the trail project,” Janice said. “There’s a lot to be done, but the study funding collaboration is a really important and encouraging first step.”

CMRT hopes that the additional funding necessary to complete a full feasibility study can be raised in the next few months.

The study would look at expected tourism demand, the cost of building and maintaining the trail, social impacts, and the opportunity for cultural storytelling including the Dja Dja Wurrung.

Almost 4000 people have signed an online petition calling on the two shires to secure funding for a full feasibility study. The petition was launched late last year.

“We’re really grateful for all those wonderful people who have signed the petition,” CMRT Grants lead John Carruthers said. “It’s been nice watching our support rise steadily every week. But our supporters will be delighted to see the petition close the day when the full funding is secured.”