We met with Coliban Water and its representative Karin Van Poppel, Property Risk Officer at Coliban Water at the end of September. Coliban Water is keen to support community based recreational development where it can on land under its control. Initial indications are that parts of the proposed trail do go through Coliban Water controlled property.
Since that meeting, an eagle-eyed Friend spotted a property for sale near Derrinal that includes a lease from Coliban for a section of the original railway reserve. We have been got in touch with Coliban Water to see whether they were aware of the sale (they weren’t) and we have now registered our interest in this particular lease.
If you see anything like that, please let us know by email (see how to contact us) or by phoning Garry Long 0409 565 404 and we’ll get in touch with the appropriate authority.
Damian Drum MLC (Nationals)
Damian also indicated support for development of the trail. Rail trails had come up during a recent tourism enquiry, so he was familiar with the concept. State elections are due next year, which raises opportunities for commitments to projects like this. Damian said he would aim to have it put on the coalition’s tourism agenda, which should put some pressure on Labor to match it. However, they would all want to see a feasibility study with costings, hurdles, routes and so on before committing to the project. We will continue to lobby both councils and the state government for a feasibility study to be completed. Here’s the handout we left with Damian (PDF 225kb).
Mitchell Shire council
Kilmore sits within Mitchell Shire and we were fortunate to be able to brief the Mitchell Shire council late in October about the proposed trail. Mitchell Shire is currently up to its ears in the development of the Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail (134 km from Tallarook to Mansfield). We made it clear we didn’t expect them to commit any resources at this stage, but we would like an in-principle agreement to support the project. Such agreement would help protect public lands through which the trail might pass from being sold off or designated for other purposes. The Mayor said they would take it to a strategic meeting for a decision. We’re now waiting to hear. Here’s the handout we left with the council (PDF 485kb).
Jacinta Allan (MP) Minister for Regional and Rural Development
We have a meeting in Bendigo with the Minster in mid-November. We’ll be briefing her on the proposal and asking what we need to do to secure funding for the project.