Community feedback to inform Environment Effects Statement for Warburton Mountain Bike Destination
Preparation of the Environment Effects Statement (EES) for the Warburton Mountain Bike Destination is underway, with further environmental studies and opportunities for locals to have their say due to start shortly.
Since the decision in May this year that an EES would be required, Council has been working on getting the EES preparation underway while keeping in touch with Warburton locals and key project partners.
Warburton Mountain Bike Destination is being developed as a world-class mountain bike facility that will attract riders from all over Victoria, Australia and the world to Warburton, creating new jobs, boosting tourism and injecting more than $20 million into the local economy each year.
From this week communities and stakeholders will be able to provide input to the EES Scoping Requirements, which set out what needs to be addressed to satisfy Commonwealth and Victorian assessment and approval requirements.
Consultation on the Scoping Requirements is led by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), which coordinate the EES process as one of Victoria’s key planning and environment regulators.
Yarra Ranges Councillor and Warburton Mountain Bike Destination Project Reference Group member Jim Child said the release of the draft Scoping Requirements was a key milestone for the project.
“Tapping into the views of stakeholders and locals’ knowledge of their area has already played such an important role in the development of the Warburton Mountain Bike Destination concept and planning,” Cr Child said.
“The Scoping Requirements will help to set the focus of the EES, so it’s great to see our communities will have a chance to influence such an important foundation for the assessments happening over the next few months,” he said.
An EES is an assessment process that helps ensure major projects are designed, constructed and operated to minimise adverse environmental and community impacts. It requires detailed investigation across a wide range of environmental factors including ecological, physical and social elements.
Another key step in developing the EES has been the creation of a Technical Reference Group (TRG), which is an important group for helping to ensure all of the project’s potential impacts are thoroughly considered.
The TRG has already met twice and members – Council, Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, Heritage Victoria, Aboriginal Victoria, DELWP Planning, DELWP Forest Fire and Regions, DELWP Biodiversity, Environment Protection Authority, Parks Victoria, VicRoads and Melbourne Water – will continue to meet monthly to formally consider the EES before it is publicly exhibited for comment.
“The TRG is also advising Council on its approach to community consultation, and I’m pleased to confirm that further consultation is planned to get underway in October,” Cr Child said.
Council will lead an extensive engagement process to share all information about the project and seek feedback to be considered alongside technical studies for the EES including land use planning, water, cultural heritage, and biodiversity assessments.
Yarra Ranges CEO Tammi Rose said that Council had already gathered extensive feedback about community priorities, ideas and knowledge of the area through engagement over the last couple of years, and had published information on how this feedback had informed the project.
“Upcoming activities like interactive online maps and direct discussions with local residents and groups will help us ensure all potential impacts have been considered, and that community and stakeholder views are captured in the EES which is expected to be exhibited in the first half of next year,” Ms Rose said.
“With COVID-19 restrictions limiting opportunities for face-to-face discussions, we’ll be building on other successful online engagement processes Council has led recently to ensure people interested in the Warburton Mountain Bike Destination can stay involved.
“We encourage locals to stay involved in the project by looking out for displays and information in their area and taking part in online and direct consultation opportunities which will get underway in a few weeks’ time,” Ms Rose said.
DELWP information – how to comment on the EES Scoping Requirements
The draft EES Scoping Requirements are open for public comment from 1 September until midnight on 21 September 2020. Comments received will be considered by DELWP during the finalisation of the scoping requirements.
Please email your comments to:
Please post your comments to:
Impact Assessment Unit, Planning
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning PO Box 500
EAST MELBOURNE VIC 8002
For more information about the EES process visit planning.vic.gov.au/environmental-assessment or contact DELWP’s Impact Assessment Unit on (03) 8392 5503 (Monday to Friday).
For updates please check the Ride Yarra Ranges website, join our mailing list.
For any additional information please call the Warburton Mountain Bike Destination project team on 1300 368 333.