Council has adopted a 10-year plan aimed at creating a fully connected network of shared trails across the Greater Geelong region.
The Shared Trails Master Plan sets out a prioritised list for the building of new trails (network gaps), filling of missing links in existing trails (trail gaps) and upgrades to existing trails (trail deficiencies).
The top five priorities identified under each category are:
- Eastern suburbs north-south connectivity (linking Eastern Gardens with the Bellarine Rail Trail and Barwon River) – 4 kilometres
- Ted Wilson Trail (Geelong Ring Road) to Bay Trail on Geelong waterfront – 4 kilometres
- Drysdale to Ocean Grove – 11 kilometres
- Drysdale to Portarlington – 9 kilometres
- Drysdale to St Leonards – 12 kilometres
- Golf Links Road, Barwon Heads to 13th Beach Surf Life Saving Club – 2 kilometres
- Bay Trail from the St Helens boat ramp to Rippleside Park – 750 metres
- Ted Wilson Trail in Fyansford from Church Street to the Barwon River – 3 kilometres
- Railway/Princes Highway crossing from Corio Quay Road to Duro Street – 500 metres
- Connect Cowies Creek Trail at the Princes Freeway to the Bay Trail at Corio Quay Road – 500 metres
- Bay Trail
- Tom McKean Trail
- Cowies Creek Trail
- Hovells Creek Trail
- Waurn Ponds Trail
Upgrades could include widening of trails, surface improvements and addition of supporting facilities such as directional signage, dog bins, seating and water fountains.
Planning has already started for a new off-road path between the 13th Beach Surf Life Saving Club and the western car park on 13th Beach Road using $200,000 from this year’s shared trails budget allocation. This project will be carried out in partnership with the Barwon Coast Committee of Management.
Other high priority trails and upgrades will be considered for funding in the 2020-2021 Budget.
Shared trails are intended for multiple types of travellers, including walkers, joggers, wheelchair users, cyclists and horse riders.
By creating a fully connected shared trails network, the council aims to connect key places where people live, work, learn and play.
The plan was developed with the help of extensive community feedback during July and August 2019, including face-to-face drop-in sessions across the region and an online interactive map that attracted 1445 ideas and comments.
The community will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the list of priorities during the 2020-2021 Budget consultation process.
The full master plan can be viewed in the 24 March 2020 council meeting agenda.
Councillor Stephanie Asher - Mayor
Through this plan, the aim is to eventually create a fully connected network of shared trails from the You Yangs, through Geelong and right around the Bellarine.
I’m particularly excited that the first cab off the rank will be a trail along 13th Beach Road in Barwon Heads. This is a major step towards linking our surf beaches to Torquay via a cycling route.
Councillor Jim Mason - Bellarine ward
We Bellarine councillors began our tenure with aspirations for a shared trails master plan. I am so pleased the whole municipality now has one.
This will ensure safe connectivity to key places where people live, learn, work and play. The plan priorities will be implemented over recurrent budgets, and feedback will be called for from the community as part of the 2020-2021 Budget process.