The first sod was turned on Monday to officially mark the start of construction of a new Coonawarra rail trail.
The 30km trail is one of several projects being undertaken by Wattle Range Council after it received a total of $2,623,517 via the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program.
Mayor Des Noll said council was pleased to be supporting Coonawarra and Penola residents with an exciting tourism initiative.
“A project that has been a long time coming is now in its development stages.” Mayor Noll said.
“It’s an opportunity to get out into the magnificent countryside and in amongst the vines which produce world class wine.
“Charge your glasses and salute this walking trail initiative.”
Member for Barker Tony Pasin said the Federal Government had committed more than $1.6m to help bring the project to fruition.
“This funding under the Local Road and Community Infrastructure Program enables Wattle Range Council to deliver community facility and infrastructure improvements and upgrades across the council area,” Mr Pasin said.
“The 30km Coonawarra rail trail is a long-awaited project, which will cater to a range of users including recreational walkers and runners, cyclists and tourists wanting to visit wineries and other destinations, starting from the town of Penola leading through several vineyards and wineries to Coonawarra.
“Every single project we support makes a huge difference in our local community.
“I am pleased to be partnering with Wattle Range Council to ensure this Coonawarra rail trail project gets under way supporting jobs in our local communities, as well as make the Limestone Coast a better place to live, work and raise family.”
Other projects being funded within the council region include the Beachport playground $200,000, Beachport Bowling Club $165,000, Lossie Lane, Millicent $30,000, Mount Burr Service Roads (stage 1) $119,298 and Penola township entrance signage and landscaping $115,000.
Phase 2 of the funding includes stage 1 of the rail trail, while stage 2 costing $928,000 will be undertaken between January 2022 and June 2023 as part of phase 3, with another $330,000 allocated to stage 2 of the Mount Burr Service Roads.