Omeo has taken another step, or should we say pedal stroke, towards adding mountain biking to its adventure tourism arsenal.
East Gippsland Shire Council last week received both the Omeo Mountain Bike Complex Master Plan and destination business case.
Mayor Cr John White said this was a significant milestone for the project, which has the potential to offer the Omeo Region significant economic and social benefits.
“Mountain biking is one of the fastest growing adventure tourism markets in Australia, as supported by the detail in the business case. The Omeo Region has cause to be optimistic about the benefits this project will bring,” Cr White said.
The comprehensive 12-month master plan development process has included detailed field surveys, track and trail design, biodiversity and cultural heritage assessments and planning and stakeholder engagement.
“It puts the project in a position to proceed through planning and approvals processes,” Cr White said.
One hundred and twenty-one kilometres of trail has been designed and assessed as part of the masterplan process and is shovel ready. The master plan details the trail network as:
- 55km of ‘high’ priority trails comprising:
- 9 trails for all abilities and 4 additional access tracks
- Several bridges and structures in and around Livingstone Park
- Further trailhead works in Livingstone Park
- Secondary trailhead area at Mount Sam Road.
- 35km of ‘medium’ priority trail comprising:
- 7 additional trails and one Link trail
- Trailhead development at the Mount Sam Summit
- 30km of ‘low’ priority trail comprising 4 additional trails
Council proposes to call for tenders for stage one – the high and medium priority trails – in August.
A contract to construct a key element of Livingstone Park, a pump and skills track, was also awarded last week and will be completed by the end of this year.
Cr White said the project continues to receive high levels of community interest.
“Such is the interest in this project, Council received more than 130 submissions from with the region and further afield prior to the 23 June meeting.”
The project area is located on Crown land currently managed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and Parks Victoria, and the Mount Mesley Reserve encompassing Livingstone Park managed by Council.
Council’s General Manager Assets and Environment Fiona Weigall said officers have been working with State Government departments to draft an agreement to develop the project on Crown land and operate it into the future.
“We have been working with DELWP to ensure there is no cost associated with the use of the land for either the trails or vegetation offsets other than management of the land,” Ms Weigall said.
As determined by Council, the CEO will continue to negotiate and enter into these arrangements, which are critical for the project to proceed.
The project is funded by Council though its capital works budget ($1.5 million), the Commonwealth Government Building Better Regions Fund ($1.5M) and Victorian Government Regional Tourism and Infrastructure Fund ($1M). Council has resolved to seek any additional required external funding to realise the full scope of the 121km trail network detailed within the master plan.