Big bucks for cycling

05 May 2017 Border Mail, Albury-Wodonga (General News) by Ellen Ebsary CONSTRUCTION of the Beechworth to Yackandandah rail trail will soon begin with $12 million for North East cycle tourism, Northern Victoria MLC Jaclyn Symes revealed on Thursday. Indigo Council Mayor Jenny OConnor said it was the biggest single funding contribution of its kind for the region yet, and council would immediately look at when works could begin. Were looking at $6 million to do Yackandandah to Beechworth, through to Osbornes Flat, she said. The other $6 million is for promotion including to international markets and track enhancement. That will be more than signage, were talking rockwall climbing, artworks, popup cafes, theres so much potential there. The extension of the Murray to Mountains rail trail is a goal of the North East Cycling Optimisation project, driven by Tourism North East and Regional Development Victoria. Ms Symes said the project, extending from Mansfield to Mount Hotham, would guide the future of all kinds of cycling opportunities. The business case and concept design for the project has been completed and the master plan is approaching completion, she said. An interim report in the optimisation project by Urban Enterprise shows the regions cycling tourism has grown by 72 per cent in the past decade and will grow by a further 225 per cent over the next eight years. Tourism North East chief executive Amber Gardner said developing a cycling hub, part of the $12 million, would put a stamp on the region as being the leader for cycle tourism. Were considering those hubs in places already active in cycling, but we dont want to pre-empt the findings of the master plan work it will be done by December at the latest, she said. Other connections including Osbornes Flat to Huon will be put up for funding in future stages of the cycle optimisation project. The Beechworth to Yackandandah extension finally making the books was celebrated by business owners, including Yackandandah Newsagency owner James Lacey. It was a project that caught my attention and it disappeared for a while . its great to see a result, he said. Bridge Road Brewers owner Ben Kraus welcomed more tourists and All Terrain Cycles employee Marcus Warner said it was a major win. It will boost tourism and jobs, he said. Weve got all the right ingredients, our rail trail infrastructure is world-class. Caption Text: ATCs Marcus Warner ON THE WAY: Jenny OConnor and Jaclyn Symes with Felix McLachlan, 5, and Charlie, 7, at the announcement of $12 million for cycle tourism. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.