A MILLBROOK resident is leading a push to see the now-disused Bungaree rail line turned into a trail and recreational path.
Gerard White, who is the father of professional cyclists Liam and Nick White, said the 13km stretch linking an area from Dunnstown through to townships such as Gordon and Wallace would be perfect for sightseers and recreational users.
His idea has won the support of Moorabool mayor Tom Sullivan, with the councillor asking officers to prepare a report on the suitability of the trail. The report is expected to be completed within the next one to two months.
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"There's nothing there at the moment apart from all the remnants of where the railway was," Mr White said.
"What a great little project it could be, it would help Ballarat and Moorabool tourism as it's so accessible to areas the likes of Ballan.
"Perhaps long-term we could see a bike path linking Ballan and Gordon."
Mr White said there were enormous benefits if the path was able to cater for recreational uses. It would also provide a off-road opportunity for people wishing to cycle to and from Ballarat.
"The railway line got pulled in January, and they've just pulled up all the sleepers about six weeks ago," he said.
"If it's left for too long, it'll go to wreck and ruin. Where nothing gets used, it will turn to blackberries and long grass. Right now though, it's all very clean and can be turned into something."
Cr Sullivan said it was an idea that had been floated by the community and was worth investigating.
"I have asked council officers to have a look at the whole matter," he said.
"Currently the area is owned by VicTrack and V/Line lease it so there's a couple of hoops to jump through.
"As a shire, we need to be aware of the tenure of the land itself and I've asked council to see how rail trails function. Who maintains them? Is it a friends group or a committee group or is it the local council? It's important we get all the information to make an informed decision."
Cr Sullivan said he could see great benefits in tourism opportunities, greater safety for cyclists and also for recreational fitness with the nature of rail trails being in mostly benign country.
"If something is not done with it, there's a tendency for things like this to become a dumping yard," he said.
"It would grow and look untidy and could encourage anti-social behaviour.
"In my time, the shire has done a few reports of health and wellbeing in the community and recreational strategies and it's overwhelming that people are enjoying more informal exercise like walking and cycling as opposed to organised sports given people are so time-poor these days."
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