Hidden history: The old Jubilee Mine site is off the beaten track in the bush, but Three Trails upgrades will mean it’s easier to access. Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS

Ideas to keep Three Trails on track

April 29, 2021 BY

IF you’ve ever enjoyed a trip on the Shire’s Ballarat – Skipton, Kuruc a Ruc or Rainbow Bird trails on foot, on a bike, or even on a horse, the municipality is seeking your feedback.

An upcoming upgrade project worth $750,000 will improve the state of these tracks known as the Three Trails, which link 15 Golden Plains communities over 101 kilometres.

Plans for the works currently include new shelters, tables and seating, tree trimming, installing traffic counters, and some trail sealing along the way.

It’s expected there will be improved safety at highway crossings, upgrades to tunnels, bridges, decking, and the Pittong Sleepover.

Now the Shire wants users of the Three Trails to share their opinions on the plans and what they’d like to see, or offer alternatives to better the multi-use tracks.

Golden Plains Shire mayor Cr Helena Kirby said the much-loved paths will only get better, regardless of any changes to the current plans.

“The project also includes promoting the trails to attract new visitors and regional residents, increasing the usage of these picturesque trails and providing a boost to the visitor economy in the north and centre of the Shire,” she said.

“To ensure the Three Trails Project works have the greatest benefit, council has opened a community survey and we look forward to hearing from local trail users of all ages, locations and activities with their thoughts and ideas for their favourite trail.”

The Ballarat – Skipton Rail Trail runs for 57 kilometres from Ballarat west to Skipton in Corangamite Shire, via Golden Plains townships including Haddon, Smythesdale, Scarsdale, Linton and Pittong.

The 13.3-kilometre Kuruc a Ruc Trail heads south from Dereel, through Corindhap to Rokewood, passing by homesteads, old mining sites, dry stone walls, and historic buildings along the way.

Zig-zagging from Scarsdale to Dereel, the 53-kilometre Rainbow Bird Trail travels via Newtown, Cape Clear, the Jubilee Historic Area parkland, and Berringa, offering sights like churches, an old mine site, reservoirs, dams and lagoons, old bridges and an Avenue of Honour.

The Three Trails will be upgraded with $500,000 from the State’s Regional infrastructure Fund, $180,000 from the Berrybank Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund, $57,000 from the Shire, and $13,000 from the former committee of the Ballarat-Skipton Rail Trail.

Feedback is open until Wednesday, 26 May at goldenplains.vic.gov.au/consultations. QR codes along the Three Trails will also draw attention to the consultation period.

Paper surveys are available at the Shire’s offices in Bannockburn and Smythesdale, which can be scanned and emailed to [email protected], posted to Golden Plains Shire Council, PO Box 111, Bannockburn, Victoria, 3331, or dropped into the offices.

Letters should be marked, ‘Attention: Three Trails Project.’