Posted: 10 August 2017
Bonegilla Railtrail Action Group members are overjoyed with news this week that funds have been awarded for two priority rail trail projects on the High Country Rail Trail.
The Commonwealth government’s Building Better Regions Fund will fund the resurfacing of the rail trail from Wodonga to Sandy Creek, and the upgrading of toilet facilities at Huon Reserve.
Until now, the poor quality rail trail surface from Wodonga to Sandy Creek has limited the potential of the High Country Rail Trail. The patronage on this section contrasts with the sealed and gravel Sandy Creek to Old Tallangatta section, which increased significantly when the Sandy Creek Bridge was opened in 2012 and again when the Ludlows Reserve to Huon Reserve section of the Lake trail was graded, gravelled and rolled.
The recent increases in rail trail use mean the toilet facilities at Huon Reserve are currently operating beyond their capacity. Once the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail extension from Beechworth to Huon is complete, there will be even more pressure on Huon Reserve. The uopgrade will use designs developed by Indigo Shire Council for a low maintenance facility that will provide toilets of the standard and capacity required.
Bringing the rail trail surface and facilities up to standard on the Bonegilla section will bring a whole new aspect to the High Country Rail Trail as it links with the Murray to the Mountains trail. The completion of this project is likely to generate at least 5,000 additional users to the trail per year, with benefits for tourism and hospitality in the region.
Parklands are grateful for the signifcant contributions from Indigo Shire Council, Goulburn Murray Water and of course the volunteers of the Bonegilla Rail Trail Action Group in creating this successful funding bid. We look forward to turning that first sod on the new section of trail!