The Victorian Government has announced it is ‘investing in the future of Mount Buffalo as a 12-months-a-year tourism destination through support for new “eco pod” accommodation’ at a cost of $1.5 million. The government is also seeking private investment for a cafe within the Mount Buffalo Chalet.
The following is from a media release from the Victorian premier.
Finally, after affecting more than 1.5 million hectares of Victoria, all the fires are out. It’s the same story in NSW and the ACT and towns are fully ‘open for business’. Of course all mountain areas have suffered economically over summer, with lost business and less work. While some areas remain closed (for instance, significant sections of the Australian Alps Walking Track remain closed) the vast majority of mountains areas are getting on with life.
Now is the time to get out and visit mountain areas and spend up big, to help communities get back on their feet.
Community energy gives local towns and regions power over how they generate and consume electricity. Locally generated renewable energy will create local jobs, cleaner energy and allow the community to control where their energy comes from.
Come find out how community energy can benefit Bright and our region. Three great speakers who are leaders in this field will outline what community energy is and how we can benefit from it.
This is another great guide to north east Victoria. Like the Walk and Trails guide, the Bright and Surrounds cycle guide provides a fantastic introduction to all types of riding in the area from Myrtleford to Mt Beauty and Falls Creek to Dinner Plain.
It includes easy, family friendly riding, road riding options and the many shared trails (including the popular Rail Trails) plus details on Mountain bike riding. It is produced by the Alpine Shire. You can get free copies in local tourist information centres or download it as a pdf here.
The Alpine Shire has produced a great walking guide for the areas between Myrtleford and Mt Beauty to Dinner Plain and back to Harrietville. Operating through the ‘Bright & Surrounds‘ tourist info program, the guide offers descriptions for walks in and around key towns plus wilder destinations like the Alpine National Park, Mt Bogong and the Buffalo Plateau.
Paper copies are available from tourist information centres in north eastern towns or online here.
This excellent resource aims to get more visitors to the region out on walking tracks, and makes it easy for first timers by providing full details on the distance and difficulty and notes for more than 65 walks.
The resurrection of the landmark Mount Buffalo Chalet is a step closer to reality after the state government agreed to help a local community group develop a plan to redevelop the building.
The government will give it a 12-month deadline and $200,000 to develop a viable business model that will redevelop and operate the 100-year-old chalet. The building is Victoria’s first ski lodge and was a plum holiday destination for Melbourne’s wealthy.
The community group, known as the Mount Buffalo Community Enterprise, has 16 shareholders, including well-known local business figures such as John Brown of Brown Brothers Wines and Tom O’Toole from the Beechworth Bakery. But the biggest name among shareholders is former deputy prime minister and current ambassador to the Vatican, Tim Fischer.
The group pledged that if it revived the chalet, it would distribute 51 per cent of profits to a community foundation, with the balance to be shared between investors.
From the article Mt Buffalo’s ‘grande dame’ wins powerful new friends by Darren Gray, The Age, October 29, 2010.
For the full story, check here.
As the Alpine Shire of Victoria’s north east continues with its bizarre ‘cart before horse’ approach to getting a major development going within the Buffalo National Park, it is also doing some useful and considered work on climate change.
Just this week, Council accepted the final report of a study into the viability of a ‘skyways’ system on Mt Buffalo. Last year Council offered its active support for the proposal, with a community study which was conducted by the Buffalo Skyways Taskforce arm of the Great Alpine Valley Tourism Board.
Unsurprisngly, the study found 64% ‘support’ for the project.
See here for some of the issues associated with developing a major gondola/ skyway project within one of our most significant national parks.
Climate change and the North East
Meanwhile, Council has been working with the adjacent Towong Shire to consider what the expected rise in average temperatures, days of extreme fire-weather risk, drought conditions and a decrease in rainfall and snow will mean for the region, and how to best plan for these conditions.
According to the Alpine Council website:
“The councils assessed how their services and assets would be affected by predicted climate change, including increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather and reduced water availability”.
The CSIRO predicts that temperatures in north-eastern Victoria could be, on average, up to 1.6 degrees warmer by 2030 and up to five degrees warmer by 2070.
Snow fall is expected to be reduced by between 10 and 40 per cent by 2030 and between 22 and 85 per cent by 2050.
The number of very-high and extreme fire-weather risk days is also expected to climb by between four and 25 percent by 2020 and 15 to 70 per cent by 2050.
Alpine Shire Council’s Manager Planning and Environment Services, Heather Green said the findings did not recommend that councils fundamentally change the way they operate. This means that, sadly, there are no real mitigation measures included in Councils response – that is proposals to reduce the emissions of Council operations. Council has taken a simple ‘adaptation’ approach, which is generally seen as being insufficient as a strategy for dealing with global warming.
What is suggested is for Council to consider the likely future impacts of climate change on new developments within the Shire’s area. “For example, factoring predicted increases in flooding and storm events when upgrading urban storm-water systems will minimise the need to replace damaged infrastructure and reduce the risk to the community”.
The climate change risk assessments undertaken by both councils will result in the development of specific service area action plans to enable current services, assets and policies to adapt to the predicted climate variability.
The project has been delivered in partnership with the North East Greenhouse Alliance and funded with the assistance of the Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.
For further information on the Councils response and details on expected climate change impacts, see here.