Skenes Creek Advancement Association secretary Tim Cobb says a $5-million Federal Government injection for a trail connecting Wild Dog Creek to Skenes Creek will boost the region’s economy.
Mr Cobb said the funding was “fantastic” and capped off a more than 20-year campaign to connect Apollo Bay to Skenes Creek via a walking and cycling trail.
“It’s been talked about since the 1990s, we had an election commitment from Sarah Henderson in 2010 but she didn’t get in, but we’ve been working hard with the Otway Coast Committee and Colac Otway Shire and they got a full feasibility study into the track finished earlier this year,” he said.
“It’s fantastic to see the shire come on board and add their lobbying.”
The $5 million is part of the Geelong City Deal, which is a $150-million agreement between local, state and federal governments to deliver a series of major projects for the region, including $26 million for Colac district coastal tourism projects.
The proposed trail will link Skenes Creek with Apollo Bay by extending the existing Apollo Bay to Wild Dog Creek trail.
Mr Cobb said the only current pedestrian connection between Skenes Creek and Apollo Bay was along the beach at low tide or along the narrow road shoulder of the Great Ocean Road.
He said the new trail would make the route more accessible for the diverse Otways community, as well as encouraging people to visit the Great Ocean Road.
“If you’ve got a wheelchair, you’re cycling with kids, or walking to school or cafes; you can’t. And if you look around the country there are so many tourist places where people cycle and there’s a pedestrian path along the coast,” Mr Cobb said.
See Wednesday’s Colac Herald for more.