FRIENDS of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail group president Garry Long has pleaded with locals to attempt to understand what the proposed O’Keefe rail trail extension from Wallan to Heathcote can do for the community.
A report into the feasibility of the extension was finalised and considered at the December council meeting on December 18, 2017.
The report was then released to the local community a day later.
Much of the doubt around the trail extension has come from land owners, with 45 per cent of the proposed route running through private land.
Mr Long said that if the land owners understood the benefits the proposed 78km trail would bring to Heathcote and surrounds, they might change their mind.
“The extension of the O’Keefe rail trail — or as some people is referring to it, the Wallan to Heathcote trail — can bring huge economic benefits for its surrounding areas,” Mr Long said.
“It can be a huge assistance for local small businesses.
“I think like anything new, the fear comes from the unknown. But I think if those people understood what the proposed trail can bring to their community and assets that could follow it; it could really knock down some of those pre-conceived ideas.”
Mitchell Shire Council stated in the report that “the proposed trail is feasible from a technical perspective and is a unique strategy opportunity for the Shire”.
The report can be found at engagingmitchellshire.com/wallan-to-heathcote-rail-trail, or hard copies of the report are located at the Broadford Customer Service Centre.