West Coast Council last night adopted the West Coast Mountain Bike Trail Strategy (the Strategy), created through a partnership with Dirt Art Pty Ltd and following on from comprehensive research and community and stakeholder engagement and consultation, regarding the emerging Mountain Bike (MTB) opportunity for the State of Tasmania and the West Coast region in particular.
Mayor Vickers said: “It’s an exciting time for the West Coast with a range of economic development initiatives starting to take shape. The MTB Strategy provides the Council with a solid strategic direction and positions the region well, to take advantage of the emerging MTB phenomenon. The community has voiced its strong support for the creation of a series of world class MTB trails in the region and with generous financial support from the Parks and Wildlife Service Council was able to get on with some serious planning work to make that happen.”
Council is determined to take full advantage of this enormous opportunity and has committed resources and undertaken extensive research in the lead up to commissioning the creation of this Strategy. Council was also successful in securing a Federal Government commitment for a further $2.5M towards the West Coast MTB Project (to supplement the financial support already received from the State Government in previous years).
The adopted Strategy identifies that the West Coast Council itself is well placed to help drive economic and community development initiatives for MTB trails from an expansive and ambitious perspective. The Strategy points out that a shift in thinking and a commitment to creating trails in the future that ‘fit’ the West Coast situation and that take advantage of its unique landscape, has the potential to position the West Coast as an exceptional MTB destination in the future, capable of drawing in large tourist numbers.
Following on from extensive research in the past twelve months, Council and Dirt Art identified that the approach of simply developing trails that appeal to the widest possible market segment does not take account of the need to build product that is suited to the area (topography, terrain, soil types etc), that is capable of delivering a point of difference and that will be ‘iconic’ in every sense of the word, to compliment other product already around Tasmania. The Strategy therefore identifies a range of potential trails, with a key focus on starting at Mount Owen in Queenstown, with a real focus on not only building some beginner and intermediate trails but developing some ‘iconic’ trails that will appeal to the expert level rider as well.
Council’s General Manager David Midson said: “It’s this exciting and rare type of product that can generate initial interest in the West Coast throughout the MTB community, and it is this type of product that will ultimately drive tourists to the area – not just a limited number of specialist riders, but their families, those seeking to upgrade their skills and those that are interested in the iconic nature of some of the proposed trails, that will not exist anywhere else in the State let alone the country.”
With a clear focus on initially looking to develop a 30km trail network on Mount Owen in Queenstown, but also identifying other big mountain descent opportunities, back country riding options and even long format trail rides in between towns, the Strategy provides Council, the community and a range of stakeholders and investors, with an array of ideas and opportunities to explore further.
Council will be undertaking a full design process for the Mount Owen opportunity as soon as possible and will continue to engage with the community, local businesses and other interested parties on the business opportunities that will emerge as the project moves forward and the first of the trail networks on Mount Owen moves closer to completion.
West Coast Council wishes to thank those community members and stakeholders who have engaged so far and helped to craft and drive the construction of the MTB Strategy. Additionally, Council would like to thank the Federal and State Governments for their ongoing support of this initiative. State Government funding has provided the means for this strategy to be implemented, bringing new economic and tourism opportunities to the region for the betterment of all who call the West Coast home.