The pros and cons of a road closure through the One Eye State Forest was the topic of a public information session last week.By Barbara Sungaila
About 50 district residents debated the pros and cons of a road closure through the One Eye State Forest at a public information session about progress on the O’Keefe Rail Trail last Monday.
In a charged atmosphere, City of Greater Bendigo engineering and public space manager Brett Martini presented an update on rail trail works.
Among those present were Eppalock Ward councillors Rod Campbell, Mark Weragoda and Helen Leach; and representatives from the Department of Environment and Primary Industries.
Several meeting attendees were vocal in their opposition to the proposed closure of the Old Railway Reserve Rd leading into the One Eye State Forest.
The objectors stressed they were not opposed to the rail trail itself, but to what they saw as an unnecessary road closure that would limit access to large areas of the forest.
Concerns were also raised about fire trucks being unable to reach areas of the forest quickly.
However, others were worried about the risks to cyclists on shared paths.
A number of options were raised for consideration, but DEPI representative Calum Walker said it would not be possible to reach a resolution at the meeting.
He said further presentations needed to be made to councillors, council officers and DEPI representatives.
Councillor Rod Campbell said that, in the first instance, those concerned about the proposed road closure should write individual letters to councillors.
On Friday, Mr Martini said the City of Greater Bendigo would continue to work with property owners in the area, DEPI, Coliban Water and emergency services in regard to access to and from the One Eye State Forest.
‘‘This will help to clarify and understand all the issues for all residents and trail users,’’ he said.
‘‘This will aide in determining the most appropriate location and treatment for the rail trail and access for the One Eye Forest.
‘‘Until this consultation and investigation is completed, no changes will be made to this access.’’
A petition signed by 135 Heathcote residents opposing the road closure has been presented to council and the concerns of the petitioners will be discussed tonight at the August Greater Bendigo council meeting, 6pm in the Bendigo Town Hall.
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