Rail trail closures proposed

The Old Beechy Rail Trail committee has recommended Colac Otway Shire Council closes two sections of the trail because of safety concerns. Clint Feldtman is among the supporters of the Old Beechy Rail Trail who have been calling for more funding to reinstate, maintain and realign the trail where necessary to ensure it can remain open.

Two sections of the Old Beechy Rail Trail look set to close in the wake of safety and maintenance concerns.

Rail trail committee members warned Colac Otway Shire Council in May that a partial closure of the popular Otways trail was likely unless the council committed to more long-term funding to address a lack of maintenance.

More than 1200 people signed a petition supporting the committee’s call for the council to boost rail trail funding in the 2017-18 budget to $150,000.

The council included a $15,000 increase in annual funding for the trail, taking it from $45,000 to $60,000, and agreed in June to undertake a safety audit of the trail to determine the need for more funding.

But the council is yet to start the safety audit and wintry conditions have contributed to two sections falling further into disrepair, forcing the committee to unanimously recommend to the council that it closes the dangerous sections to the public.

See today’s Colac Herald for more.

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