A community dream of one continuous trail connecting the Bunny Trail in Ballarat's east could come a step closer to reality if council pushes ahead with buying surplus state government land.
Ballarat City council will be voting on the purchase of the block of land in Mount Clear for the new linking trail at this Wednesday's council meeting.
The plan aims to add a 410-metre section at 55 Recreation Road to two existing trail sections with public access along the 12-kilometre Bunny Trail. The Bunny Trail follows the old Buninyong railway established in 1889.
"This land unlocks the access to the Bunny Trail," said Friends of Canadian Corridor secretary Jeff Rootes.
The land was put on the market in the state government surplus assets sale in late 2019 and FoCC then put forward the proposal for council's acquisition.
Since the proposal in early 2020, many community groups have come forward to collaborate on the proposal, including Ballarat Mountain Bike Club, Ballarat Bushwalking and Outdoor Club, Mount Clear Scouts and Federation University's Outdoor Department.
The community also helped to clean the space in preparation for this proposal as part of Clean up Australia day last year.
Mr Rootes said when the FoCC became aware of the sale, it became 'so obvious that this was a good idea'.
In this COVID-19 era people are looking for local recreation... Ballarat is a wonderful place, it just needs these connections.FoCC secretary Jeff Rootes
This new trail connection will connect Recreation Road and Woowookarung Regional Park.
This new connection is also in line with the Woowookarung 2018 Strategic Directions Plan to create more neighborhood connections to the park.
The 2018 goal of more neighborhood access was put in place to 'provide more convenient access' to Woowookarung Regional Park and will cater for both cyclists and walkers in the Mount Clear suburbs.
The new connection will also serve as an accessible trail for Mount Clear College and surrounding primary schools.
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The Department of Treasury and Finance has evaluated the land at $45,000 but the purchase is not included in council's 2020/21 budget. The offer from the state government is under the condition that the land be used for community purposes.
Friends of the Canadian Corridor received help from both Buninyong's member for parliament Michaela Settle and the council's officers for their proposal.
"The council officers and everyone involved have been very supportive," said Mr Rootes.
If council decides to go through with the purchase of the land the Friends of the Canadian Corridor will be setting up opportunities for residents to see the new space.
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