Work on a pathway linking Buchan with its most popular tourism drawcard, the extraordinary limestone Buchan Caves, kicks off Monday 7 November.
The 2.5m-wide, 1300m-long shared pathway will make accessing the stalactites and stalagmites of Buchan Caves Reserve easier and will encourage visitors staying at the caves campground to walk to the town’s main street.
East Gippsland Shire Council Mayor, Cr Mark Reeves, welcomed the start of the project.
“Aiding tourist movement between the scenic tourist destination and the town proper is a vital step in ensuring Buchan’s future prosperity,” Cr Reeves said.
"Up to 140,000 people visit the caves each year, but they spend only $5.30 each in Buchan. If more visitors to the caves also visited the town and spent $40 each, that would boost the local economy by close to a million dollars a year."
The pathway will be constructed as part of stage one of Council’s Buchan Main Street and Linkages Project. The pathway will also take in John Flynn Memorial Reserve - connecting the town’s iconic swing bridge on the Buchan River to the township.
The Buchan and District Community Plan lists the path as a high priority for the community. Stage two of the plan will see the town’s streetscape given a significant facelift.
Council secured the $615,000 in funding needed for the pathway works from Bushfire Recovery Victoria.
In total, some $2.8 million was secured for the Buchan Main Street and Linkages Project, encompassing the Buchan Caves Reserve Linkage and Buchan Streetscape Refurbishment.
The pathway will complement a $4.2m upgrade of Buchan Recreation Reserve, which will see the redevelopment of the reserve, complete with a new oval, courts and pavilion.