THE Dunkeld community will get its chance to comment tonight on a proposed 145-kilometre-long walking trail that links the town to the northern point of the Grampians.
A draft master plan for the Grampians Peaks Trail, released by the state government last week, outlines a world-class, long distance walking experience that takes in the landscape’s flora, fauna, geology and cultural heritage.
The plan also highlights the opportunity for local towns to become “walking hubs”, catering for people who are navigating the route and providing economic spin-offs.
Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith said community feedback on the draft plan would help define the route and determine visitor facilities required to support walkers. It will also be used to secure funding for the project.
“The plan forecasts a major boost to Grampians tourism, estimating an additional 86,000 visitor nights in the region annually by 2024, the tourism spend to increase to $6.39 million, and more than 170 full-time direct and indirect jobs to be created by the construction and operation of the trail,” Mr Smith said.
Southern Grampians Shire Council believes the trail has the potential to stimulate further investment in tourism in and around Dunkeld.
The council is also investigating plans for a loop trail from Dunkeld to Mount Sturgeon that will link to the Grampians Peaks Trail.
A consultation session will be held at the Dunkeld Bowling Club at 6.30pm tonight. Representatives from Grampians Tourism and Parks Victoria will be available during the event.
The plan is open for comment until Wednesday, June 11 at www.parkweb.vic.gov.au or by calling 131963. Copies are also available at information centres in Dunkeld and Hamilton and at council offices.