Clean energy will power visitor hub at Mt Stirling
State chips in $210,000 to help better cater for visitors to the high country
THE State Government will pump $210,000 into the development of the visitor hub at Telephone Box Junction (TBJ), to be wholly powered year round by renewable energy.
Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, Major Projects and Regional Victoria, Danielle Green, visited Mansfield on Monday to announce the funding, noting that TBJ is the pivotal entry point to the high country from the western side of the Great Dividing Range for visitors seeking to enjoy activities on Mount Stirling.
The TBJ hub project, which has already commenced, includes community shelters and information boards at Howqua Gap and the Machinery Shed, the installation of public toilets at the Machinery Shed, as well as the creation of an all-weather access pathway from King Saddle to Machinery Shed.
The new micro-hydroelectricity system planned for the hub has been designed to have minimal environmental impact and will replace a large, noisy and smelly diesel generator, which is notoriously at odds with the quiet, unspoiled natural environment.
“Power is always a challenge and this hydro scheme will keep Stirling open all year round,” Ms Green said.
Roughly 200,000 AWD and 4WD vehicles pass TBJ on the way to the high country each year, many of which pass through without stopping.
Ms Green said providing $210,000 for the project will deliver Australia’s first Alpine Hub wholly powered year round by renewable energy.
“Mt Stirling is a vital attraction within Victoria’s internationally popular high country region,” she said.
“We will work with the local community to strengthen the local economy through sustainable tourism initiatives.
“The Labor Government is upgrading Telephone Box Junction because the current facility cannot provide the services required by visitors who want to get off the beaten track and explore the beautiful landscapes.
“This project is about jobs and ensuring that we can continue offering the very best services to tourists visiting our best regional attractions each and every year.”
At a small gathering of mountain staff, contractors and Mansfield Shire councillors at the Delatite Hotel on Monday, Ms Green was full of praise for the way in which the Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Alpine Resort Management Board protected the prisitne environment of Mt Stirling.
Ms Green congratulated all who came up with the concept.
“You guys are doing the right thing,” she said.
“Today is a great day for Mt Stirling.”
It is anticipated this part of the project will be carried out over the coming spring and summer months.
Ms Green said in depth research was undertaken to identify the best and most costeffective form of renewable energy generation for the hub.
She said flora, fauna and native vegetation assessments have been completed, as well as a cultural heritage management plan.
Ms Green pointed out that the area attracts horse riders, mountain bikers, dirt bikers, hikers and sightseers outside of the snow season and is fast becoming home to the latest cutting-edge snow sports, such as splitboarding and fat biking.
The project will allow local businesses to capitalise on these emerging visitor markets and support a year-round increase in visitor activity.
It also uses local suppliers and will create 14 jobs during construction with another 27 jobs expected to be created within the next two to five years of its operation.
ON WITH THE JOB: At Monday’s announcement were (from left) ARMB CEO John Huber, Mansfield Plant Hire’s Peter McElroy, Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, Major Projects and Regional Victoria, Danielle Green, builders Alan Rice and Darren Wheeler, Mansfield Plant Hire’s Claire McElroy, environmental services Mt Stirling operations manager Louise Perrin, and Sun Real Benalla’s Martin Nichol.