THE Grampians Peaks Trail has helped keep jobs in Stawell and will have benefits for the region from Horsham to Ararat, Northern Grampians Mayor Tony Driscoll says.
Western Victoria MP and Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford toured Stawell’s CKS Construction and the Grampians Peaks Trail construction site near Halls Gap on Friday.
The Grampians Peaks Trail is a project to build a 144-kilometre walking trail from Mount Zero to Mount Abrupt near Dunkeld, designed to offer day walks, overnight camping and the option for a full two-week hiking experience from start to finish.
The state government, describing the project as a future leading tourist attraction for Victoria, provided $19 million for its construction in 2015 in addition to $10m from the federal government.
Tom and Carol Hedges and their staff at CKS Engineering in Stawell are helping build the super exciting, soon to be world famous, 144 km Grampians Peaks Trail. Here with Mayor Tony Driscoll. #springst#getting#bigprojectsdonepic.twitter.com/vAbYfgmpRO— Jaala Pulford MP (@JaalaPulford) January 12, 2018
Cr Driscoll said the trail would benefit all surrounding municipalities when it was completed.
“In terms of tourism, the market is going to be massive,” he said.
“The trail is going to bring people to Halls Gap and Stawell, either staying or moving through. There’s a regional benefit … the trail starts in Northern Grampians and Southern Grampians but there will be benefits for Horsham and Ararat.”
Stawell’s CKS Engineering has been contracted to fabricate steel panels for the trail. It has constructed 200 panels of elevated steel mesh boardwalk for the trail, which will allow walkers to use the trail while protecting native plants and animals.
Ms Pulford said the business had been able to keep two people on staff and gain future security for the company as a result of the contract.
CKS Engineering managing director Tony Hedges said the company was fabricating an additional 320 panels to be sent to Mount William.
“The contract has given us a great opportunity to expand to other areas and given us greater buying power,” he said.
“There has been more continuity of work and it helps us keep people on staff.
“We’re proud to be a part of a project that big and it’s going to be something that’s around for a long time and hopefully in future there’ll be more contracts like that.”
Cr Driscoll said the trail’s use of contractors in the region was a model outcome.
“CKS is the perfect illustration of a business that has benefitted from the peaks trail and has the potential to benefit even more,” he said.
“We take a lot of businesses in Stawell for granted, yet the uniqueness of what CKS can do is quite incredible..
“We perhaps need to promote these businesses more and let people know.”