Implementation of the Omeo Mountain Bike Destination Project has been gaining momentum in recent months, with Council approving the project’s planning permit and awarding a contract for the construction of trails – both significant milestones.
The planning approval processes however, are not yet complete as the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has recently notified Council of an objection to the planning permit being lodged.
This notification means that trail construction cannot commence until the VCAT matter has been resolved.
The VCAT process has nominated a final hearing date of 18 November 2021.
Council is progressing with background works, with the hope that the VCAT matter can be resolved This includes the MTB Operational Plan, Emergency Management Plan and Maintenance Management Plan being initiated. Stakeholders such as Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria, SES, Omeo Regional Hospital, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and community are in the process of being consulted for input.
Particular attention is being placed on rider safety; this is not just wearing helmets! Good trail design and maintenance will help minimise injuries and the need for the extraction of patients. Stakeholders and adjoining landholders are invited to contact Council’s project manager Ian Cameron to discuss how we can ensure good emergency access to the trails.
In anticipation of a positive VCAT outcome, a road safety assessment has also been carried out on Connleys Road, with recommendations anticipated to be progressively implemented as trail user numbers increase.
Work on the proposed Omeo MTB website and marketing also continue. A recent article in Flow Mountain Bike featured the project and successful tenderer Common Ground Trails, highlighting the recently constructed Omeo Pump and Skills Track and the project vision.
Other related project investments within Omeo are being progressed by Council with funding support from Bushfire Recovery Victoria and Council’s own funds. Improvements to Livingstone Park are currently in design with works planned for the 2021-22 financial year.
The design will include elements from the Livingstone Park Master Plan such as improved playground and picnic area facilities, access and safety improvements to the swimming area, vehicle parking and a pedestrian / bike bridge linking the caravan park trail.
The Livingston Park upgrade compliments the recently completed Pump and Skills Track, which has proven to be a great success for the young and young at heart and for those who take in the park ambience. The pump track is a popular place to be for locals and tourists on or off a bike!