A chat with Buller’s new CEO

Mt Buller News - - FRONT PAGE -

WEL­COME to the last of Buller News’ reg­u­lar catch ups for the sea­son with the Mt Buller and Mt Stir­ling chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, Mark Ben­netts.

Buller News (BN): The 60th Vic­to­rian In­ter­schools have now fin­ished. What were your ob­ser­va­tions?

Mark Ben­netts (MB): Well it re­ally was a fab­u­lous event.

It was great to see the ex­cite­ment among the skiers dur­ing the medal pre­sen­ta­tions each night, es­pe­cially the younger kids who were com­pet­ing for the first or sec­ond times.

And some of the older rac­ers are per­haps on the cusp of join­ing the band of Mt Buller Olympic skiers.

The BSL staff who prepared and set the cour­ses did a great job.

David Spiers and his team pulled ev­ery­thing to­gether won­der­fully well, and he was quite hoarse by the end of the week.

It turns out that the Fed­eral Min­is­ter for Sport, Greg Hunt, is a long time Mt Buller skier, and he dropped in to present some medals and of­fi­cially close the event.

And of course Ly­dia Las­sila was a favourite at the open­ing cer­e­mony, with many young skiers keen to have their pic­ture taken with her.

BN: Ly­dia also an­nounced the Olympic train­ing cen­tre. How did that come about?

MB: I think it’s a great ex­am­ple of col­lab­o­ra­tion for the ben­e­fit of the moun­tains, our skiers and our vis­i­tors.

The Olympic Win­ter In­sti­tute of Aus­tralia (OWIA), Ski and Snow­board Aus­tralia, Buller Ski Lifts and the Re­sort Man­age­ment Board are all con­tribut­ing to make Mt Buller Vic­to­ria’s home for the devel­op­ment of fu­ture Olympic and world cham­pi­ons in aerial and mogul ski­ing for the next 20 years.

The RMB is mak­ing Alpine House avail­able for ath­lete ac­com­mo­da­tion, which the OWIA will ren­o­vate in­ter­nally and ex­ter­nally.

We’re also mak­ing half a court in the Sports Hall avail­able for the OWIA to in­stall an ac­ro­batic fa­cil­ity, which will be avail­able for the pub­lic to use when it is not be­ing used for train­ing.

And BSL will be mak­ing im­prove­ments to Chamois in­clud­ing a FIS dual moguls course, lights and ad­di­tional snow­mak­ing equip­ment – we just need more wa­ter.

BN: We keep com­ing back to wa­ter. What is the lat­est with the plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for the new dam?

MB: We have sub­mit­ted our En­vi­ron­men­tal Ef­fects State­ment Re­fer­ral for con­sid­er­a­tion by the De­part­ment of Plan­ning.

It seeks com­ment from other Vic­to­rian gov­ern­ment de­part­ments be­fore ad­vis­ing the next steps in the ap­pli­ca­tion process, which they will ad­vise dur­ing Septem­ber.

We also need sep­a­rate ap­proval from the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment.

We’ve sub­mit­ted all of the ma­te­ri­als for that ap­pli­ca­tion too, and are hope­ful of a pos­i­tive out­come.

BN: What else is the RMB pro­gress­ing at the mo­ment?

MB: The mar­ket­ing team is work­ing on the moun­tain’s spring cam­paign, which fo­cuses on the mes­sage of great ski­ing and plenty of fun events right through un­til the cel­e­bra­tory clos­ing week­end on the grand fi­nal long week­end, wrap­ping up on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 1.

We’re or­gan­is­ing a broad group of stake­hold­ers to help us re­view park­ing, bus, shut­tle, taxi and pedes­trian ar­range­ments and agree what to do to im­prove the vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence, safety, and in­crease car park­ing ca­pac­ity in time for win­ter 2018.

We’re pro­gres­sively work­ing through up­dat­ing or cre­at­ing in­ter­nal poli­cies to im­prove our gov­er­nance prac­tices as a re­sult of the Om­buds­man’s re­port.

And we’re work­ing on a way of re­mov­ing the sub­jec­tiv­ity in­her­ent in the Alpine Re­sorts Leas­ing Pol­icy guide­lines, so that ev­ery­one can un­der­stand how lease terms are de­ter­mined.

BN: So while all that’s go­ing on, what’s com­ing up for sum­mer?

MB: The team is al­ready pre­par­ing for an­other sum­mer full of events and ac­tiv­i­ties, kick­ing off with the Targa High Coun­try mo­tor rac­ing event on Novem­ber 10-12.

Fol­low­ing Targa, our of­fi­cial sum­mer sea­son open­ing week­end will be on De­cem­ber 2 and 3, where vis­i­tors will be able to en­joy the huge net­work of moun­tain bik­ing, walk­ing and run­ning trails that the re­sort has to of­fer in sum­mer.

Vis­i­tors will be able to en­joy a com­pre­hen­sive range of events, in­clud­ing the Buller Moun­tain Bike Fes­ti­val and Vic­to­rian Down­hill Se­ries, run­ning events like the Mt Buller Sky Run and Os­car’s 100 Hut2Hut, the ev­er­pop­u­lar Pic­nic in the Park food, wine and mu­sic fes­ti­val, Easter cel­e­bra­tions and more.

We are look­ing for­ward to wel­com­ing back many of our win­ter guests to en­joy all the moun­tain has to of­fer in the ‘green sea­son’.

IT’S OUT THERE: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of all par­ties gather at Mt Buller to cel­e­brate the an­nounce­ment.

Mark Ben­netts

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