Mt Buller News

Exciting plans are being progressed for the Mt Buller and Mt Stirling resorts

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IN 2016 the Victorian Government endorsed the Mt Buller Masterplan as a conceptual blueprint for future developmen­t, and in 2018 the Resort Management Board finalised the Mt Stirling 2030 vision.

Work has since focused on converting these into more concrete proposals to turn Mt Buller and Mt Stirling into vibrant and sustainabl­e yearround tourism destinatio­ns.

“The focus has been on adapting to climate change and helping both resorts realise their potential in terms of tourism, jobs, health and wellbeing, education, and their contributi­on to the Victorian economy,” Resort Management Board chief executive officer (CEO) Mark Bennetts said.

“The Mt Buller masterplan envisages a vibrant Village Square in the heart of Mt Buller, with gondola access from the carpark and additional activities for visitors.

“Stirling 2030 is focused on cultural and nature-based education, tourism and recreation.

“We’ve been leveraging these to develop more detailed elements to the point that they can become a reality through public and private funding.”

Victoria’s four other alpine resorts, Falls Creek, Lake Mountain, Mt Baw Baw and Mt Hotham, are in a similar position, needing to adapt to climate change by becoming tourism destinatio­ns that are less reliant on natural snow.

So in 2020, the four Alpine Resort Management Boards, Tourism North East, Regional Developmen­t Victoria and the Alpine Resorts Coordinati­ng Council commission­ed Urban Enterprise, an expert consulting firm specialisi­ng in planning, economics and tourism, to develop an overarchin­g Alpine Resorts Visitor Economy Developmen­t Plan.

“Our focus is on adapting to climate change by improving the year-round offering so that we can continue to

increase visitation by meeting the needs of a growing population,” Tourism North East CEO Bess Nolan-cook said.

“The six Victorian Alpine Resorts are already popular during winter, attracting 1.3 million visitors each year, generating the equivalent of 10,000 full time jobs, and contributi­ng $1.1 billion to the Victorian economy.

“And this recent work shows their remarkable potential to further grow regional tourism by encouragin­g more Victorians and people from other states to holiday in Victoria.”

Urban Enterprise director Mike Ruzzene added “we started by assessing the benefits the six resorts currently provide to Victoria, before researchin­g what it would take for them to become successful year-round destinatio­ns”.

“We then used economic modelling to determine what visitation could be achieved by adapting to climate change and investing in new infrastruc­ture and activities,” Mr Ruzzene said.

“We found there was a substantia­l market interested in the green season as well as significan­t growth potential in winter.”

The numbers are impressive, with the plan estimating that government investment

of $439 million and private investment of $298 million would more than double the number of visitors to 2.7 million each year and the number of full-time equivalent jobs to 20,400.

The alpine resorts contributi­on to Victoria’s economy would increase to $2.1 billion each year, which is approximat­ely five times more than the Australian Open tennis tournament and 35 times more than the Australian Grand Prix.

The plan calls for a significan­t portion of that money to be spent at Mt Buller and Mt Stirling - at least $140 million in government funding and $67 million from the private sector.

“This stems from climate change adaptation principles, the 2010 masterplan, updates focused on the Mt Buller Village Square which were strongly supported by stakeholde­rs, and the Mt Stirling 2030 vision document which was developed collaborat­ively with stakeholde­rs,” Mr Bennetts said.

“The proposals start at the point of entry to the resorts, with an integrated visitor centre and resort entry building at Mirimbah along with bookable camping sites nestled near the Delatite River and glamping sites with views up to Mt Buller.

“The plans at Mt Stirling are to seal the road to Telephone Box Junction (TBJ) to improve access, redevelop the building there into a fit for purpose educationa­l centre, café, day shelter, hire outlet and ski patrol base, and increase the number of low impact camping sites in a similar manner to the existing Alpine Camp so as to accommodat­e additional school groups.

“Over at Mt Buller, the proposals include additional parking, a gondola to the village to reduce the use of

buses, a new transport hub to improve the arrival experience for coach passengers, turning Cow Camp Lane into a tunnel so that there’s a pedestrian only zone from the Chapel to the Abom, and redevelopi­ng Village Square Plaza to block the chilly winds from hitting the square while addressing the chronic shortage of public shelter and toilets.

“The range of non-snow related activities would be increased including spectacula­r short walks and viewing areas, an alpine coaster, zip lines, tubing, adventure playground, and more beginner and intermedia­te mountain bike trails.

“Large parts of the Alpine Central building would also be re-establishe­d as a base for primary, secondary and tertiary education, and dedicated staff accommodat­ion developed to address a critical shortage.

“Demand for property at Mt Buller has been exceptiona­lly strong, and there are private investors interested in developing new attraction­s.

“The key is additional public infrastruc­ture which will give the private sector the confidence to invest and help underpin strong visitor growth all year round.”

Ms Nolan-cook finished by outlining how the Alpine Resorts Developmen­t Plan will be progressed: “The next step is to discuss the plan with state and federal government representa­tives to try to attract the funding necessary for the resorts to adapt to climate change and reach their true potential as some of Victoria’s most iconic and desired tourism experience­s.

“We hope they’ll be as excited as we are at what could be achieved and that by working together we can make it become a reality.”

 ??  ?? ROLLER COASTER RIDES: Alpine coasters are proving to be popular year-round attraction­s in resorts around the world with plans for a ‘roller coaster’ for Mt Buller.
ROLLER COASTER RIDES: Alpine coasters are proving to be popular year-round attraction­s in resorts around the world with plans for a ‘roller coaster’ for Mt Buller.
 ??  ?? CAMP OUT: Improved camping facilities for The Stirling Experience Alpine Camp at Mt Stirling.
CAMP OUT: Improved camping facilities for The Stirling Experience Alpine Camp at Mt Stirling.

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