Contracts for the first stage of the long-awaited trail from Lilydale to Yarra Glen have been awarded by Yarra Ranges Shire.
Local firm Kent Environmental and Vegetation Management will construct Stage 1A of the Yarra Valley Trail—between Beresford Road, Lilydale and MacIntyre Lane, Yering — with work starting this month.
This project has been a priority for Bicycle Network for more than a decade, and has been pushed along by strong support from the local community.
But set-backs, especially major damage along the route from bushfires, have hindered the project.
Now it is finally underway with the bonus that it is just one leg of a now much bigger project — the Yarra Valley Trail which will continue from Yarra Glen to Healesville, and then link back to the Warburton Trail.
Cr Fiona McAllister said it was great to see the project come to life after years of planning.
“The trail will help residents keep active and healthy on bike or on foot and connect visitors to food and wine destinations and local businesses in the Yarra Valley,” Cr McAllister said.
Stage one of the Yarra Valley Trail project is funded by the Federal Government’s Regional Growth Fund ($2.5m), State Government’s Growing Suburbs Fund ($2.5m), Eastern Metropolitan Partnership ($1m) and Yarra Ranges Council ($2.5m).
The funding was recently boosted by the Federal Government’s commitment to the project, along with funding to related projects including theWarburton MTB Destination and the Ridgewalk hiking trail
“Projects of this scale can only be delivered in partnership with community and both Federal and State Government,” Mayor, Cr Stevenson said.
“Thanks to this announcement from the Regional Growth Fund, the community can have certainty that these projects will go ahead.
“We’re proud of and thankful for the support we’ve received for these projects at every level, from the Federal and State Governments and our local elected representatives, right through to residents, community groups and local businesses, who will all benefit from this program.
Cr Stevenson said this additional funding from Federal Government completes the funding for Stage 1 of Rivers and Ridges Trails, ensuring that Council can push on with delivering over 160 kilometres of walking, cycling and mountain bike trails across the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges.
“These trails will boost the local economy and encourage more people to be physically active,” he said.
“This is all about building healthy communities, with economic studies demonstrating that this extensive trail network will generate 525 new local jobs and an $80.8M annual increase in economic activity.
“Yarra Ranges is the playground of Melbourne and Victoria’s number one tourist destination.
“As a Council, we’re excited by the prospects of more local jobs and opportunities in our towns and villages, particularly more local youth employment.”
Stage 1 of Rivers and Ridges trails will deliver:
- Warburton Mountain Bike Destination Stage 1 including 110km of world class mountain bike trails
- Warburton Community Recreation Precinct Stage 2 providing more active and attractive recreation opportunities in the Upper Yarra Valley
- Yarra Valley Trail Stage 1 – a 11.5km walking and cycling trail linking Lilydale to Yarra Glen, offering an attractive, family friendly trail across the beautiful Yarra Valley
- RidgeWalk – a 39km walking track across the ridgeline of the majestic Dandenong Ranges, linking towns and villages, and delivering an engaging cultural and educational experience.