After struggling financially for several years, it has been announced that the day-to-day management of the Baw Baw alpine resort has been handed to private enterprise.

As with many key decisions taken by the current Coalition government, it appears to be blind to the reality of climate change. Climate science is consistently pointing out that the lower elevation resorts will suffer from shorter and more erratic snowcover earlier compared with higher resorts. Yet government continues to ignore the huge elephant in the room.

Like other resorts, Baw Baw has sought to broaden its appeal in recent years, with a strong focus on ‘green season’ activity and an emphasis on arts and culture, and community-orientated events. Let’s hope the new management continues to develop a diverse range of low impact events that can draw in larger numbers of people.

Anare lodge
Anare lodge

According to resort management:

Belgravia Leisure will manage the resort on a fee for service basis “with the incentive to improve financial performance”.

Board Chair Vicky Papachristos welcomes Belgravia who has a proven track record in the leisure industry, managing over eighty facilities throughout Australia including successfully managing Lake Mountain.

“I am delighted with Belgravia’s appointment because this will allow them to gain an understanding of the resort’s commercial operations and to assist us with improving the long term sustainability of the resort for the future”.

“We are looking to them to bring new ideas and expertise to help us achieve our vision for Mount Baw Baw to become a more vibrant centre for year-round alpine experiences.

“For some years the resort has required additional funding from Government to remain operational. This funding will continue but we will be drawing on Belgravia’s expertise to reduce this burden on the taxpayer and produce a better overall offering,” she said.

“Belgravia will apply their significant experience to manage the resort and produce efficiencies. We will work with them to develop a plan to secure investment in the resort to ensure the long term independent financial sustainability of the resort.”

Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith said: “The private operation of Mount Baw Baw Alpine Resort by Belgravia Leisure is a major boost for tourism and the economy. It will help to build a more innovative and sustainable future for the resort so that its facilities can be enjoyed by Victorians and visitors to the area.”

Belgravia Leisure will assume management responsibilities for the resort immediately and in time for the 2014 snow season. They will report to the Board and will be subject to the same legislation and regulations that are currently in place.

The contract follows the tender process that commenced in November 2013 seeking expressions of interest from private operators to manage and operate Mount Baw Baw. The contract is for one-year with the option to extend this arrangement.