Mountain bikers, tourism operators and supporting businesses are jumping with joy following news the Omeo Mountain Bike Trails can proceed as planned.
East Gippsland Shire Council was yesterday notified of a successful outcome following a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) hearing held last month.
Mayor Cr Mark Reeves said it was a day for celebration.
“This news will resonate throughout the hills – Omeo and East Gippsland will be on the cycle-tourism map. People will be flocking to Omeo from across Victoria, Australia and the world to experience what we have to offer,” Cr Reeves said.
The VCAT decision did not change the conditions on the planning permit for the trials, nor did it make any changes. The VCAT Member saw no need to change the location of any of the proposed trails.
“This ratifies the high level of detail our planning team went through in assessing this project and that how they had assessed the proposal was correct. A great result,” Cr Reeves said.
Council officers will meet with the contractor, Common Ground Trails, this week to finalise the contract and revised construction program. Construction is expected to start next year, but more details will be announced soon.
The project – 121 kilometres of cross-country and downhill gravity trails – had been through a long and detailed development phase, including the development of a master plan and business plan before a contract was awarded for the construction of Stage 1 in April this year.
“Designed by mountain bike trail design specialists, the trails will stack up with some of the best. Coupled with renowned High Country hospitality and ingenuity, we are now all looking forward to the economic stimulation this project can deliver.”
“Now, I join with the Omeo Region community in saying ‘let’s get the trails built’.”
Cr Reeves praised the community for sticking with the project and riding out the bumps.
“The community has been heavily invested both financially and emotionally and its patience has been much appreciated as the planning and appeals process has played out.”