A high quality new rail trail will be built to connect the Otways township of Forrest with the local recreation reserve and pony club with the help of a $108,000 grant announced today by the Member for Western Victoria, Gayle Tierney.
The 1.8 kilometre 2.5 metre wide Forrest Tiger Rail Trail also will complete the first stage of the Birregurra to Forrest Tiger Rail Trail.
Ms Tierney said the trail would be another asset in the former logging region’s eco-tourism development.
“This initiative will build an important new feature in the larger network of trails through this beautiful forest region,” Ms Tierney said.
“The trail will add the key link to complete a major trail and connect Forrest to the regional mountain bike trail network.
“Creating a quality access route between the township and two popular local recreation areas is another important feature.”
Ms Tierney said Colac Otway Shire Council would undertake the $186,428 project, which will be a multi-use pathway.
The works will include constructing the trail, reconstructing a bridge, installing historical interpretive signs and installing directional signs.
The historical signage recognises the Forrest Tiger Train, which travelled between Forrest and Birregurra.
Ms Tierney said the new safe, off-road trail was an important addition to community infrastructure and would boost quality of life for the growing town’s 150 residents.
Forrest, the designated northern entrance to the Great Otway National Park, is known for hosting four annual events including the Otway Odyssey, a major mountain bike event, and the Kona 24 Hour Global Series.
Ms Tierney said the trail would encourage more tourists and visitors at events to visit the township and increase revenue for local businesses.
The grant is being provided under the Brumby Government’s Small Towns Development Fund initiative through Regional Development Victoria.
Ms Tierney said the project typified fund initiatives which were making a big difference to towns in provincial Victoria.
The fund has helped develop 425 community and social infrastructure projects.