Wednesday February 17, 2021

Trail sadness

Letters to the editor - Bairnsdale Advertiser 17/02/2021

Dear Editor,- We read with sadness in last week’s Bairnsdale Advertiser the current East Gippsland Rail Trail committee missed out on any major funding from governments at all levels in recent handouts.

To add further distress it appears the dilapidated Snowy River viaduct going nowhere has received 3.5 million to become pleasing to the passing eye.

Not that we begrudge that committee the $3.5 million of public money, but at the very beginning of the East Gippsland Rail Trail, the steering committee and the foundation committee, did not want bridges to be maintained with public money as the cost appeared too great for public sentiment to swallow.

When rail trails were first launched with the blessing of Jeff Kennett and his driving political disciple of rail trails across the state of Victoria, Graeme Stoney, the East Gippsland Rail Trail was the longest proposed in Australia.

Today the trail lags the rest of the trails in Australia due to lack of ownership by local council and the lack of political understanding of what a great asset the trail is and could be.

The local rail trail committee members for many years have been passionate visionaries but have failed to have the trail developed as they have been in other parts of Australia.

The local committee is to be commended for its tireless volunteer work just maintaining a profile for the trail while it sinks in many sections into disrepair across East Gippsland.

We hope for the future there is some political leadership (at all levels) championing the upgrading, promotion and development of the East Gippsland Rail Trail.

Yours etc.,
Past East Gippsland Rail chairs and passionate committee members.