Rail trail goes user friendly

By Charmayne Allison

LOOKING for a user-friendly place to enjoy a picnic or a quick snack while cycling on the O’Keefe Rail Trail?

Need to top up your water bottle while taking a peaceful stroll along the popular track?

Thanks to the tireless work of Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail in partnership with City of Greater Bendigo, the local rail trail now boasts easy access to a range of facilities.

Council’s contractors recently upgraded access to the trail’s Axe Creek bridge picnic area, providing a new gravel surface and improving storm-water drainage.

The trail’s new water station near Bennetts Rd, Junortoun, has also had its access area upgraded with a new gravel surface, improving the adjoining picnic table and seats’ immediate area.

‘‘We are thrilled to see the access to the Axe Creek picnic area upgraded with gravel paving,’’ Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail planning team chair Lindsay Clay said.

‘‘This will not only facilitate wheelchair access but will also improve drainage to this popular picnic area beside Axe Creek.

‘‘We are also thrilled drinking water stations have been installed at Bennetts Road and at the Axedale Hall. Not only do these allow water bottles to be filled, they are designed for wheelchair access and they also provide doggie bowls for pets to be hydrated as well.’’

Mr Clay said he had been working closely with council to continuously improve and extend the O’Keefe Rail Trail ever since Friends of Bendigo Kilmore Rail Trail was formed 10 years ago.

‘‘This latest improvement is just one of many ongoing improvements that have been achieved over that period,’’ he said.

‘‘We have been working with both Coliban Water and Bendigo City on the provision of water stations for about two years now and there are another half dozen or so sites where we hope to eventually have them installed.’’

In addition to being fantastic facilities for the general public, this section of trail is often used by the likes of SCOPE Loddon Mallee for its Bendigo clients’ outings.

A second water station has also recently been installed next to the trail’s bike repair station at Axedale Park, providing facilities for both trail users and those enjoying the park.