Community facilities Volunteers | April 30, 2020
Community dedication gets rail project on track
Four years of perseverance to gain approval to tidy up vacant railway land has finally paid off for the Dartmoor community.
The Dartmoor and District Progress Association identified an opportunity to turn a 1.2-kilometre stretch of unused railway track in the centre of town into an open walking and cycling space, and started work in 2016 to secure a lease from VicTrack for the project.
Member for Lowan Emma Kealy, who worked with the association to advocate for the state government to grant the lease, said the unused area was overgrown and posed a significant fire risk.
“As small communities so often do, Dartmoor residents used innovative thinking and stepped up to devise a plan that would not only remove the risks, but would also provide a useable, attractive space the community could take pride in,” she said.
“The association’s band of hard-working volunteers, together with Glenelg Shire Council, have shown passion and resilience in pursuing this project despite a number of delays and hurdles.
“Their hard work has finally paid off, with the government confirming that VicTrack is close to finalising a lease for the site.
“This is wonderful and long-overdue news for all those who have worked so hard to make their vision a reality.”
VicTrack, the government agency that owns the rail land, will lease the section of track to Glenelg Shire Council, who will in turn sub-lease it to the progress association.
Ms Kealy congratulated the association and council for their determination to see the project to this stage despite the challenges thrown their way.
“The association, led by its president Wendy Dowling, is a wonderful example of what can be achieved through perseverance and how a little bit of creative thinking can turn an eyesore into an asset,” she said.
“I commend everyone involved, and look forward to visiting the site when the renewal project is complete.”
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