Experts to start on trail study in OCT

8 September, 2022

Trail experts are expected to begin within the next several weeks on a major study to determine the trail’s feasibility.

Tenders from a number of consultants were received by this week’s deadline. The tender is being managed by Central Goldfields Shire Council.

CMRT has two representatives on the panel that will be evaluating the tenders. Central Goldfields chairs the panel. Mt Alexander Shire Council is also represented.

CMRT and the two shires expect to appoint an expert consultant before the end of September. Tender evaluations will be conducted next week.

The consultants will undertake a six-month study on the merits and logistics and of the trail between October 2022 and March 2023.

The study will focus on two key lines of enquiry: the economic costs and benefits of the trail, and the regulatory, planning and construction practicalities of defining its route and stages and building it.

The feasibility study will be influential in unlocking further funding for the trail – including the next stage of the trail associated with environmental, cultural and land-use planning which could cost several hundred thousand dollars. 

CMRT is is hopeful that interim results from the study will help underwrite support for the next funding phase in the lead-up to municipal, state and federal government budgets. All three will be cast during the December quarter this year.

The funding for this study was underpinned by $18,000 donated by CMRT supporters and $12,000 contributed by the two councils. The Victorian Government contributed $120,000 through an enabling tourism grant. 

The study aims to test the proposal that a world class trail can be established between Castlemaine and Maryborough along the disused rail corridor, contributing up to $8 million in annual economic uplift to the two shires.

The Victorian Government’s tourism grant was announced in June by Bendigo West MLA Maree Edwards, and Tourism, Sport and Major Events Minister, Martin Pakula. CMRT led the joint bid for the grant funds with the two shires.

“Standing behind our bid are more than 4000 supporters, almost 100 donors and almost 30 businesses, schools, individuals and elected officials who have declared they want this trail,” CMRT President Dr Janice Simpson said at the grant announcement on the banks of Cairn Curran.

“The trail can bring up to 30,000 visitors and another $8 million each year into towns along the trail, and provide safe commuting and accessible wellbeing and other benefits for thousands of local people.”

Our donors and volunteers built the grant bid brick by brick. They donated thousands of dollars in amounts large and small in just four weeks, and a small cohort worked almost non-stop over the same period to assemble all the 50+ pages of bid documentation and other collateral. 

A beautifully illustrated tourism map and short promotional video were part of the content supplementing our bid documentation, along with a detailed scope of works for the study.