Picked from the pack
Three projects secure funding through State Government initiative
TWO major projects in the Kiewa Valley and one in Bright can now go ahead thanks to funding through the State Government’s Pick My Project initiative.
The majority of the local votes in the grants program went towards the upgrade of facilities at Mt Beauty’s Big Hill Mountain Bike Park.
Receiving the second most votes from the public was ‘Run, Walk, Ride with the Flow, beyond Pebble Beach’ while the third most popular idea was for a new beginner mountain bike trail and trailhead at Bright.
The two Kiewa Valley developments were granted $200,000 while the Bright project will receive funding of $164,000.
Project manager for the Big Hill Mountain Bike Park project, Damian Heman, said the aim was to turn the trailhead into a place where people could hang out, socialise and enjoy the view.
“We plan to install barbecues, shelters and seating as well as a bike wash and repair stand,” he said.
“We are hoping that the new facilities will not only attract riders but bushwalkers and picnickers and enhance the national and state cycling races we hold each year, but also improve logistics for other local events such as the music festival.
“We are grateful to the State Government and to the community for the level of support they have shown.”
The Pebble Beach project includes plans to extend the popular walking track an extra 900 metres upstream along the West Kiewa River to create a round trip of six kilometres.
This idea was put forward by the Upper Kiewa Valley Community Association, led by local walking track activist Jim Crebbin, who has been working on the scheme for over 10 years.
“Market research has shown that visitors to our area value access to rivers over most other activities, and this track will play a crucial role in supporting the local economy,” he said.
“The new sealed surface will make the track accessible to all ages and ability levels, including those with disabilities, and open up beautiful views of the river and the mountains.
“The project was scheduled by the Alpine Shire for 2020, and we are delighted that Pick My Project has made it possible to start work much sooner.”
Mr Crebbin acknowledged the efforts of UKVCA secretary Mary Pike who put the Pick My Project submission together.
With mountain biking continuing to boom in Bright and the popular pump track on Mystic Hill set to be demolished from harvesting next year Pick My Project funding will allow for the relocation of the trailhead and construction of a beginner trail at Rotary Pines.
Alpine Community Plantation executive officer Alia Parker said a rest shelter and a trail map near Dougherty’s Bridge will better connect both Mystic Park and the Morses Creek trails.
“We’re super excited to be one of the successfully funded Pick My Projects,” she said
“It ensures that we can rebuild the beginner mountain bike trail after the harvest, and redeveloping the Mystic trail head to suit our park’s changing needs which is integral to Bright retaining its reputation as one of the country’s best mountain biking destinations.
“This funding, in combination with our new Blue flow trail set to open this summer, ensures Mystic remains a desired tourist location, benefiting our local businesses and economy.”
Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) who was in Mt Beauty last Thursday to officially announce that the three local projects were successful in securing funding, said that small towns throughout North East Victoria had done the hard yards to attract the votes they needed to get their projects over the line.
“It is unsurprising to me that small towns embraced Pick My Project and have been so successful,” she said.
“Country people don’t expect things to be handed to them, they are not afraid of a bit of hard work and they support one another to get the job done.”
Through the Victorian-first community grants initiative there was a minimum of $1 million up for grabs within each of the six metro and nine regional partnership areas in the state.
Alpine Shire (3) along with the Indigo (3) and Towong (2) shires were the only local government areas in the Ovens and Murray region to have projects funded.
Across the state there are 237 projects that will share in $30 million.
GOING AHEAD: Upper Kiewa Valley Community Association member and advocate for the Pebble Beach track extension Jim Crebbin discusses the project with Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) last week.