Producers up Wilyabrup way have voiced frustration at a lack of action on a plan devised to develop a food and wine trail for the unofficial subregion. The Wilyabrup Food and Wine Trail was developed by wineries to harness bicycle tourism, allowing visitors a range of experiences and cellar door visits on the way to Cape Naturaliste. But after a feasibility study went to the South West Development Commission in 2019, “it hasn’t seen the light of day” according to Nic Peterkin of the winery Pierro. “The feasibility study found that there would be an incredible economic/social benefit to the local community,” the winemaker told the Times. One of the sticking points was the trail crossing the boundary to incorporate the City of Busselton area as well as that of the Augusta-Margaret River Shire. While numerous stakeholders were involved in reviewing the proposal, the SWDC ultimately recommended that the local governments take charge of the project. “In order for the trail to be feasible, a project owner needs to be established,” the SWDC report said. “The owner would ideally be one or both of the councils, as it will be necessary to enter into voluntary agreements with landowners where road reserve or road verge trail development is not possible, or considered not ideal due to vegetation clearance or rider safety issues.” Mr Peterkin said the trail would be a shot in the arm for wineries along the trail, but he was frustrated any impetus had fallen off the radar. City of Busselton community and commercial services director Naomi Searle said the completion of the Wadandi Track from Vasse to Cowaramup was needed before the proposal could move forward. Unfortunately, the track’s completion was also stalled because of lack of funding. “This staged development will safeguard the sustainable delivery of trails within our municipality, align with the principle of connected trail networks over standalone trails, and complement the significant economic benefit of a connected Wadandi Track,” Ms Searle said. “Officers are continuing to investigate funding sources with key partners in both the State and Commonwealth governments.” Shire of Augusta-Margaret River asset services manager David Nicholson said a Department of Transport look at the proposal indicated $3.4 million was needed, and the trail would cost $85,000 a year to maintain. “A project lead would need to be identified,” Mr Nicholson said. “Issues regarding adjacent property owner concerns around biosecurity in vineyards would need to be addressed. “Most of the proposed trail is in the City of Busselton. The Shire’s highest priority is completing the Wadandi Track, and we continue to be focused on achieving this.” The envisaged trail was 14km long, with 2km within the Augusta-Margaret River shire. The Wadandi Track completion was also linked to the as-yet unfunded Unbeaten Tracks project, which proposed linking all the region’s major trails into one tourism network.