Flat to Vale Trail a step closer thanks to $1.5M
A project to build a shared walking and cycling track between McLaren Flat and McLaren Vale has been allocated $1.5M in Federal funding thanks to the advocacy of the Federal Member for Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie.
The Flat to Vale Trail is a project being delivered by the Onkaparinga Council with input from the Flat to Vale Trail Community Group, the Coast to Vines Bicycle User Group and the McLaren Vale Grape, Wine & Tourism Association.
"The Flat to Vale Trail is a high-priority project in the McLaren Vale wine region and I have been pleased to advocate on behalf of our community for Federal support. It was great news to see the funding allocated in the Federal Budget,” Rebekha said.
Following the Budget announcement, Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said: "The Australian Government is proud to provide nearly $6 million in funding for local infrastructure projects in Mayo that will support communities and rebuild the local economy. Rebekha Sharkie's advocacy has played a key role in securing funding for these projects. Rebekha has been a strong advocate for local infrastructure projects that boost the local economy and strengthen community and relationships."
Rebekha said: "This proposed shared pathway between McLaren Vale and McLaren Flat would link the highly successful Coast to Vines Rail Trail in the heart of the McLaren Vale region, providing an off-road link between the townships and tourist destinations where currently there is none."
"The proposed pathway offers opportunities for enhancing the experiences of visitors to the Santos Tour Down Under international cycling event and it would connect with other tourism and cycling trails, including the sports park link trail, the Coast Park Trail and even a future Onkaparinga River trail," she said.
“Cycling is a very popular recreational activity in Mayo, and we are building a network of pathways and trails that are adding to the social well-being of the community and the local visitor economy.
“I would like to thank the Federal Government for listening to the case put forward by our community and investing $1.5 million into this enormously worthwhile project.”
Flat to the Vale Trail Community Group Chairperson Cherise Vallet said members were celebrating the news of the Federal funding.
"It’s great to have such strong advocacy from Rebekha. It is obvious she is really going to bat for all manner of local projects that will support our community to thrive and enjoy life in this beautiful region," Cherise said.
"The Flat to the Vale Trail will be a wonderful asset for both townships, but will also strongly contribute to the network of trails that will make this a recreational walking and cycling destination region.
"I am thrilled to have been part of this community project, and look forward to being there the day the ribbon is cut to open it."
Onkaparinga Mayor Erin Thompson said the City of Onkaparinga would now consider bringing forward the remaining $450,000 needed to fund the entire trail.
“This has very much been a community-led project and we commend Ms Sharkie for her continued engagement with the Vale and Flat communities to bring it to fruition," Mayor Thompson said.
“The City of Onkaparinga has also been working with these communities, particularly landholders along the proposed route.
“While we still have some details to finalise I want to express my thanks for the landholders’ willingness to consider this much-needed trail potentially running alongside or in some cases even through their properties. Their community spirit has been outstanding.
“This project is a very high council priority for funding in future budgets. Without external support, it would have taken several years for the Council to deliver this project on our own. Given this fantastic announcement and the community-driven nature of the project we will now consider how we might bring forward the balance of funds ($450,000) to seize this wonderful opportunity to realise the community’s vision right now.”
Photo: Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie is pictured near the McLaren Flat end of the proposed Flat to Vale Trail that will start at Blewitt Springs Road in McLaren Flat and end at the McLaren Vale Sports Park Link. Rebekha has secured $1.5M in Federal funding for trail that aims to connect the wine region to the Coast to Vines Trail.