A community meeting for a briefing on the Omeo Mountain Bike Complex (OMBC) progress and plans held on Thursday, May 30, saw a third of the Omeo region population fill the Omeo Recreation Reserve pavilion.
The crowd was enthusiastic, giving every speaker a round of applause.
Four locals who had visited Australia’s current premier mountain bike trail bike site in Derby, Tasmania, since January, told of their views of Derby and how the geography and infrastructure of Omeo and region compares favourably.
After first being proposed in 2016, plans for the OMBC appear ahead in terms of project approval design tenders and contracted funding from three levels of government.
“Despite some recent media reports, all the promised funding by the Victorian Government is secured. Victorian funds were not reported separately in the latest budget as it had been committed in the 2018/2019 budget,” Leigh Fulton, who is part of the project’s committee, said.
The successful masterplan tendering team then explained their roles at the meeting.
“Biosis is the lead project consultancy led by Matt Looby, with Gerard McHugh, of World Trails, and Simon Jones, of Horizon Studios,” Mr Fulton said.
“Each of these firms have special skills and East Gippsland Shire Council let the tender as a team approach rather than having each expert firm working in a separate silo.
“Mr Looby will be looking after approvals for cultural heritages and environmental considerations, Mr McHugh will be doing the detailed trails design.
“This work will be pulled together by landscape architect Simon Jones. The end result of the masterplan is to have the approved design ready to give to the successful construction tender firm.”
Council’s senior economic development officer, Stephen Kleinitz, is the project leader.
“This team has been traipsing the government land on which the trails are to be built and consulting with adjoining land-leasers for the last few days, to start noting the key features,” Mr Fulton said.
“The masterplan timeframe cannot be set in concrete due to the vagaries of the rules regarding government approvals. The best estimate is January 2020 at this stage.”
Omeo residents and businesses are now considering how to plan for the impact the completion of the OMBC will have on the town and the entire East Gippsland Shire.
“To give some ideas on this, TAFE Gippsland staff gave a short address explaining flexible training and funding arrangements that can be made in relation to the project,” Mr Fulton said.
“Council has recently let a tender to TRC to complete a business plan for Omeo to identify and suggest impacts on the community and show where opportunities will lie.”
Mr Fulton said the meeting was a very positive and informative session, “leaving an enthusiastic supportive buzz in the air”.
PICTURED: The three key leaders for the Omeo Mountain Bike Complex masterplan: Gerard McHugh, of World Trails, Matt Looby, project leader at Boisis, and Simon Jones, of Horizon Studios.