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Guide Banner 4 2015

Castlemaine-Maryborough rail trail has taken one small step closer to its planning stage with a decision by the Mt Alexander Shire Council (MASC) last month to fund a small scoping study.

The study is expected to look at framing some preliminary questions of engineering, tourism economics and social benefits for the proposed 55km trail in Central Victoria.

MASC voted on 15 June to allocate $6K in its 2021-22 budget towards the study. The scoping study is intended to guide a full feasibility study within two years. MASC has asked its neighbouring municipality, the Central Goldfields Shire Council (CGSC),  through which almost half the trail would run, to match its funding. CGSC did not vote the funds in its 2021-22 budget, but has advised Castlemaine-Maryborough Rail Trail Inc. (CMRT) it intends to formally review that decision at its half-year budget review.

"MASC's decision is a significant small step forward for the trail," CMRT President, John Carruthers said. "We applaud the Council and we'll continue the dialogue with CGSC. CGSC understands the very positive economic and social impacts a trail can  have for its Shire. We're confident they'll come around to a study."

MASC and CGSC have already collaborated in seeking funding for a larger study from the Victorian Government. Discussions are continuing.

CMRT, the group advocating for the trail, proposed a jointly-funded preliminary scoping study as a pragmatic path for the two councils to begin working together on the trail concept.

CMRT anticipates working with the two councils to help frame the scoping study and its objectives. The two key State lower house representatives whose electorates span the proposed trail, Maree Edwards and Louise Staley, have both expressed  support for the trail.

CMRT was formed late last year and has already attracted more than 2500 signatures to its online petition calling on the two councils to fund a full feasibility study.

V80 105 Rail Tracks removed near Guildford CMRT 2020 05