Water funding makes future look snowy
THE future of Mt Buller’s critical Water Storage Project has been secured with the State Government announcing a $7.5 million grant through the Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund.
Parliamentarian Anthony Carbines (MLA, Ivanhoe) took the opportunity to publicly announce the funding while at Mt Buller to celebrate the opening of the 2018 snow season.
The Mt Buller Water Storage Project will deliver a 100 megalitre water storage facility within the ski area to provide water for drinking, snow making and firefighting.
Identified as a critical component for the long-term security, sustainability and growth of the resort in summer and winter, the Mt Buller Water Storage Project has been eight years in the making.
“An adequate supply of water is critical for Buller to grow during summer and will double the amount of storage for snowmaking during winter,” Mark Bennetts, chief executive officer Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management, said.
“The project will provide jobs during construction and help secure regional jobs during summer and winter in the years to come.”
The project will increase snowmaking capacity in the 51 hectares of ski area with existing snowmaking, and enable an additional 15 hectares of ski area to receive new snowmaking facilities.
“This announcement is welcome news for Mt Buller and is a positive step to a more certain future for our skiers and snowboarders,” Laurie Blampied, general manager Buller Ski Lifts, said.
“For Buller Ski Lifts we can now confidently plan to make more snow across more areas in the resort.
“We’ve wanted to grow our snowmaking areas so skiers and boarders can enjoy a more reliable cover on more ski runs and this now gives us the ability to promise more snow on more runs each winter.”
Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management and Buller Ski Lifts have a joint venture partnership in making snow at Mt Buller.
Buller Ski Lifts has committed to spend over $8m in additional snowmaking and associated infrastructure.
“The project includes a range of environmental initiatives including an innovative watering feature to ensure the preservation of important alpine bogs and associated flora and fauna, as well as vegetation offsets on Mt Stirling,” Mr Bennetts said.
“Twelve months of environmental monitoring is already under way to establish a baseline before starting any construction and will continue thereafter.
“The water storage facility will also include walking trails and viewing areas.”
Planning approval for the project was received from the State Government in January 2018 and Environment Protection and Biodiversity approval is expected from the Federal Government shortly.
A contract to complete detailed design and construction will be tendered later this year.
The water storage facility is expected to be constructed during the 2019 - 2020 summer, with fill commencing during winter 2020, and be providing water for Mt Buller from the 2020 – 2021 summer.
Mt Buller and Mt Stirling see over 40 per cent of winter visitation to Victoria’s alpine areas each year, host approximately 500,000 visitor days each year, help generate and maintain 2600 on mountain jobs and many more in the surrounding regions, generate gross expenditure of approximately $600m pa, and contribute $260 million per annum to Victoria’s state revenue.