$1.5 million for Flat to Vale Trail
A City of Onkaparinga-led project to build a shared walking and cycling trail between McLaren Flat and McLaren Vale will receive $1.5 million in federal government funding, it was announced this week.
The announcement follows advocacy from Federal Member for Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie and the Flat to the Vale Trail Community Group, and it comes as council engages with the community on the preferred trail route.
Ms Sharkie said the Flat to Vale Trail is a high-priority project for the McLaren Vale wine region and she was pleased to advocate on behalf of the community for federal support.
“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,” she said.
“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.
“Cycling is a very popular recreational activity in Mayo, and we’re building a network of pathways and trails that are adding to the social wellbeing of the community and the local visitor economy.
“I’d 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.”
City of Onkaparinga Mayor Erin Thompson said the Flat to Vale Trail 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”.
“Council has also been working with these communities, particularly landholders along the proposed route,” Mayor Thompson said.
“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 council to deliver this project on our own.
“Given this fantastic announcement and the community-driven nature of the project, we’ll 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.”
The funding announcements follows the City of Onkaparinga Strategic Directions Committee decision to approve the presentation of potential trail routes to the community to seek their feedback.
You can now have your say on two 2.5-metre wide options (3.6km route and a 4.2km route), which traverse various private land parcels. The routes were designed following targeted engagement with a range of stakeholders, including the Flat to the Vale Trail Community Group, McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association, vineyard operators and other private landowners.
The Flat to Vale Trail was tested as part of council’s Trails and Cycling Strategic Management Plan community engagement in 2016-17, where it received strong support.
Council’s Tourism Strategic Plan 2019-2023 identifies advocating for a cycling/walking trail between McLaren Vale and McLaren Flat as a key activity for tourism investment attraction.
Flat to the Vale Trail Community Group Chairperson Cherise Vallet said members were celebrating the news of the federal funding.
“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,” she said.
“I’m thrilled to have been part of this community project, and look forward to being there the day the ribbon is cut to open it.”