Lady Talbot Drive remains closed
Major tourist destination Lady Talbot Drive remains closed with no opening date in sight. The popular drive was closed for the majority of 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions and over the winter period and has not re-opened during this year.
State Liberal Member for Eildon, Cindy McLeish wrote to the Minister for Environment, Lily D’Ambrosio, in February 2021, expressing the community’s frustration towards the ongoing closure of Lady Talbot Drive in the Yarra Ranges National Park and the popular Beeches Walk.
Ms McLeish said, “Lady Talbot Drive has been closed for a significant amount of time. It is a popular destination for locals and tourists to visit, walk through the cool temperature rainforest and enjoy the unique surrounds.”
“The closure impacts surrounding towns in the Murrindindi Shire economically including local hospitality, accommodation and small businesses that are missing out on visitation numbers. The prolonged closure of Lady Talbot Drive means more than just a closed road, it’s hurting regional towns.”
The Minister for Environment responded to Ms McLeish’s letter in July 2021, five months after Ms McLeish raised the matter. In the response, Ms D’Ambrosio reiterated the closure was due to fire-killed ash trees falling which have still not been removed since the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires.
Ms McLeish continues, “Locals understand the importance of removing dead trees. They just don’t understand why it is taking so long.”
“During the annual seasonal closure of Lady Talbot Drive and during COVID-19 restrictions when people couldn’t visit the site would have been an opportune time for dangerous trees to be removed.”
“It would be fabulous to have these attractions open by the time tourism is allowed back into the regions,” Ms McLeish concludes.
Parks Victoria and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) are said to keep community members update on planned works and progress on re-opening the road. No timeframe for either has been provided.