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An extension of the Camperdown rail trail from Timboon to Port Campbell is a step closer to reality after Corangamite Shire gave the project a $1.48 million jump start in the budget.
But the council still needs between $4 million and $6 million in funding from state and federal governments to get the cycling and walking trail project moving.
Senior council staff met with federal government politicians on Wednesday in a bid to fast track the project.
Mayor Neil Trotter said for the six year's he'd been on council they have been lobbying for funding to extend the rail trail and was now "shovel ready".
He said that in a bid to put the project higher on the agenda, the council has taken the step this year of allocated $1 million in seed funding in the hope it would bring more success.
"It's looking closer and we've put money to it to try and help advance it," Cr Trotter said.
"We've been pushing really hard. We've been advocating very strongly for it in the lead up to state and federal election.
"We can see it as being a real driver for tourism in the hinterland.
"We think the benefits will be pretty substantial."
He said the trail would allow cyclists to get off the train at Camperdown and be able to ride all the way to the coast.
The proposed new route would take cyclists and walkers all the way to the new Port Campbell bridge which is currently under construction.
The council has also allocated $25,000 budget for the development of a masterplan for the rail trail.
Cr Trotter said the trail would be a boost the boutique businesses in the area.
"We see that last link as being vital," he said.
The trail would follow the Wannon Water easement from Timboon to Port Campbell.
Cr Trotter said eventually a completed Camperdown to Port Campbell rail trail would meet up with a proposed extension to Port Campbell of the Great Ocean Road walking track which currently stretches from Apollo Bay to Gibson Steps.
That would then allow cyclists, and hikers, to be able to ride or walk all the way from Camperdown to Apollo Bay.
"It's one of the strategies to slow people down and get people to stay in the area," Cr Trotter said.
This article first appeared on www.standard.net.au
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