The Warburton Mountain Bike Destination has ticked off another huge milestone, with the projects Environment Effects Statement now open for public comment.
Located around 70 kilometres east of Melbourne, The Warburton Mountain Bike Destination would feature more than 170 kilometres of trails across Mount Donna Buang, Mount Little Joe and Mount Tugwell.
The project will provide more recreational opportunities for local residents and visitors of all ages and riding abilities, helping them connect with nature and lead active, healthy lives.
When fully operational the project will inject more than $48 million a year into the local economy, and support more than 200 jobs.
The EES is Victoria’s most stringent and comprehensive assessment process, and ensures projects are designed, constructed and operated to minimise adverse environmental and community impacts. The assessment will make sure the project is developed with environmental protection at the forefront.
Industry experts have spent the past two years developing their technical studies to form the EES. The 3,500-page assessment covers 19 chapters and is the most comprehensive investigation of a Mountain Bike Trail ever undertaken in Australia.
Site investigations, ground truthing, environmental studies and community and landholder feedback has played an important role in developing the project. At each stage, the project has been refined and improved in response to what Council has learned.
Yarra Ranges Mayor CR Jim Child thanked local community for helping to shape the project.
“We appreciate the input the community have provided throughout the project’s development, going back as early as 2013. That feedback along the way has shaped the project and we’re excited to share the EES and technical studies and seek further community feedback.”
$11.3M has already been committed by Local, State and Commonwealth Governments for stage 1 of the project. The funding which includes a contribution from the Upper Yarra Community Enterprise includes 110km of the trail network, and the costs of undertaking an EES.
“This project has been a huge undertaking for Council, and we have invested $3.2M in the development of the EES for this project.”
“Council has committed to creating a world class trail network, and the EES process will help ensure this project can be delivered in a way that protects and promotes the environmental values of the valley”.
“We would also like to acknowledge the State Government agency staff, in particular Parks Victoria, DELWP, Melbourne Water and EPA, who have contributed to the EES through helping guide and review the technical studies”.
Community can have their views considered as part of the planning approvals process by commenting on the EES. The EES will be on exhibition for 40 business days, and submissions will close on Tuesday 25 January 2022. Public hearings are expected to start in March that year.
Free USBs containing the full ESS are available at public exhibition locations, or from Yarra Ranges Council offices directly.