An attempt to block the extension of the Bay Trail at Mentone was not successful at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
A plan by Kingston City to continue the popular trail south through Mentone to Mordialloc was challenged in VCAT by a local group opposed to the move.
But in a recent judgement—Nolan v Kingston CC—the Tribunal decided in favour of the council's plan to extend the path.
Senior Member, Jeanette G Rickards, said in her decision: "The proposal will provide opportunities to promote more walking and cycling in an environment that is safe and attractive.
"The path provides accessibility to footpath-bound vehicles such as wheelchairs, prams and scooters and will contribute to and improve accessibility to the coastal area.
"There is in my view a clear net community benefit because of the proposed Stage 2 path works.”
The opposition group has claimed that the council’s proposal to extend the Bay Trail would have narrowed the cross section of Beach Road, compromising the safety of road users on Beach Road.
On the other hand, Bicycle Network has supported Kingston’s plans as there were other sections of Beach Road of similar width that have not raised safety concerns in the past.
Ms Rickards cited Bicycle Network's view in her decision.
She also rejected other arguments put by the applicants as not being matters that could be considered by the Tribunal.
Despite the decision, the extension of the trail is not automatically assured.
Opposition leader Mathew Guy has given his support to the opponents of the plan.
He has pledged, should he win government, to reverse any works the City of Kingston undertakes to further the project.
Each plan for extension of the Bay Trail has met criticism from local Coalition parliamentary members and candidates.
But public opinion is not lining up behind the opponents, and the Bay Trail has been tremendously popular with people in the bay-side suburbs.
If these views are expressed through the ballot box at this election, Mr Guy, who has strongly supported the development of trails in other areas, may change his mind and back Kingston’s plan.
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