Deakin searches for the missing link to Warrnambool CBD

A WALKING and cycling path linking Warrnambool’s Deakin University campus to the CBD is on the drawing board.

There are also plans for the track to meet the Warrnambool-Port Fairy rail trail, effectively creating a safe off-road trail all the way to Port Fairy.

Deakin University’s travel and transport manager Karly Lovell said no definite route has been proposed, but the CBD connection was “something we want to look at quite furiously this year”. “We’re in the really early stages of developing feasible routes,” Ms Lovell said.

“There was initially talk of following the current rail line but that’s become almost impossible.

“We’d love to be able to use the river. From a recreational point of view it would be great to have families using a beautiful scenic trail to come and explore the campus on weekends or come out here for picnics.

“But there’s a lot of private land along the river you would have to acquire (and) that would be almost impossible. We’re hoping to be able to have more discussions with council.

“It’s very early days and we’re open to all proposals. But we want to at least get a feasible option on paper this year.”

Ms Lovell said “very informal discussions” with Wannon Water had been encouraging, raising the possibility of the trail following pipeline infrastructure from the campus to the CBD.

The aim of the trail is to provide a safe and sustainable transport option for staff and students as well as opening up the campus to more visitors, especially on weekends.

“The campus is in a magnificent location on the Hopkins River and it can be much better utilised by the community,” Ms Lovell said.

“If we can encourage more people to walk or ride to work it would be a great outcome for improving sustainability.”

Warrnambool mayor Michael Neoh said the council was open to discussion and was in favour of advocating for active transport options.

mneal@sfairfaxmedia.com.au

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