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Council welcomes $8.75m Growing Suburbs funding announcement

Published on 12 September 2018


Major trail projects and a new soccer pitch in Yarra Ranges will become a reality following a significant funding announcement from the State Government’s Growing Suburbs Fund.

State Member for Monbulk, James Merlino MP, and Minister for Local Government, Marlene Kairouz MP, announced $8.75m in funding for Yarra Ranges projects through the 2018-19 Growing Suburbs Fund on Wednesday, 12 September.

Joining representatives from Interface Councils at the Karwarra Australian Plant Garden in Kalorama, Mr Merlino and Ms Kairouz announced support for the following projects:

  • Yarra Valley Trail - $2.5m
  • Ridgewalk – $2m
  • Warburton Mountain Bike Destination - $3m
  • Esther Park synthetic soccer pitch, Mooroolbark - $1.25m

Yarra Ranges Mayor, Len Cox, said the funding was one of the largest amounts Yarra Ranges had ever received through the Growing Suburbs Fund, and that the support would ensure the projects became reality.

“Ridgewalk, when completed, will be a 26 kilometre walking track across the Dandenong Ranges, that will create a historical, cultural, educational and tourism experience,” Cr Cox said.

“The Yarra Valley Trail, meanwhile, will be a trail of over 40 kilometres, connecting Lilydale with Yarra Glen and Healesville, then across to the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail, creating a valley-wide loop.

“The Warburton Mountain Bike Destination will involve the creation of more than 150 kilometres of mountain biking trails connecting Mount Donna Buang to the Warburton township and the surrounding mountains.


Noel Cliff, Len Cox, Terry Avery, James Merlino, Marlene Kairouz and Tony Stevenson at Karwarra Australian Plant Garden.

“We’ve estimated that these projects, when completed, will result in a total of 757,000 more annual visits, generating 535 new jobs and boosting the local economy with $80.8 million in spending.

“The Esther Park synthetic soccer pitch will be a great development for our local sporting groups, and I’m very proud that the State Government has announced its support for all of these projects.

“These projects are all important, not just for our region as the number one tourist destination in Victoria, who will be able to explore and experience their own region in different ways and to access world-class destinations and opportunities for physical activity at their doorstep.”

The projects align with Council’s priority of creating resilient and livable communities, identified in the recent Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2017-21.

“This will be a fantastic way for residents and visitors alike to get physically active and enjoy the environment here in the Yarra Ranges,” Cr Cox said.

For more details about the Yarra Valley Trail and Warburton Mountain Bike Destination, visit

For more information about Ridgewalk, visit Council's page