MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire has made a $10 million funding commitment towards the Peninsula Trail project over the next five years.
But it wants the state and federal governments to “fill in the missing piece of the funding puzzle” by adding their contribution of $40 million.
The 100 kilometre trail is a walking and cycling network linking rail trails and extending right around the peninsula from Baxter-Somerville and across to Merricks-Bittern on its Western Port leg, then across to Arthurs Seat, or on its Port Phillip Bay leg from Moorooduc down past Mornington to Safety Beach, Dromana-Red Hill, Anthonys Nose, Camerons Bight and the Collins Settlement. It links Flinders and all the way along the ocean beaches to Portsea on existing walking trails.
Phase 1 of the project, to be completed 2022-26, includes the Baxter to Somerville, Mornington to Moorooduc and Southern Peninsula missing links, taking in Anthony’s Nose. This phase will cost $20 million, of which the federal government has committed $2 million.
Described as “one of the most scenic shared trails in Victoria” it is said to have “enormous transformational potential for our region”.
The shire said the results of community consultation “gave us a loud and clear message that better walking and cycling facilities are a priority, giving us better active transport options, connecting our townships and supporting our tourism economy”.
The mayor Cr Despi O’Connor said during the pandemic people have been walking and cycling “more than ever and have really appreciated the mental health and well-being benefits of safe open spaces”.
“The Peninsula Trail project will mean fantastic recreational opportunities by improving access to our stunning natural and coastal environments, better cross peninsula access and much needed jobs to help our COVID recovery,” she said.
The eight Rotary clubs on the peninsula have chosen the Peninsula Trail as a project to mark the 100th anniversary of Rotary in Australia.
“We have shown that Peninsula Trail is one of our highest priorities,” Cr O’Connor said.
“We now need the state and federal governments to walk alongside us and fill the missing piece of the funding puzzle, so we can get on with filling the missing pieces in the trail network.
“This project will kick start our COVID-19 recovery and provide our residents and visitors with new ways to experience the peninsula.”
Cr O’Connor said limited public transport options meant the trail offered alternative ways to get around the peninsula as well as offer visitors new ways to explore the region.
“People will be able to cycle from Melbourne all the way to Sorrento which will become one the world’s most scenic cycling routes,” she said.