Environmental reports submitted to State and Federal Government
The Warburton Mountain Bike Destination (WMBD) Project achieved an important milestone this week with submissions being made to State and Federal environmental regulators.
These submissions will enable the regulators to assess the potential impacts on the environment and ensure appropriate measures are in place to protect it.
The WMBD is being planned across a spectacular landscape that will make a compelling experience for riders and help connect people with nature. With trails running through the Yarra Ranges National Park and the Yarra State Forest there is a range of important environmental values that require detailed investigation and planning to avoid or minimise impacts.
Stage 1 of the project has been extensively consulted on and includes approximately 110km of trails. The project has long intended to deliver 160km+ of trails in order to qualify for International Mountain Bike Association Gold Status Ride Centre.
In order for the regulators and community to understand the full scope of the project, further planning has been undertaken to detail additional trails that may be delivered in future if additional funding is secured. The environmental submissions are based on a total trail length of 186km.
The outcomes of these submissions are expected to be known by February 2020. These outcomes will guide the development of the final draft master plan which will form the basis of the next round of community and stakeholder engagement.
The final draft master plan will detail all planned trails, trail heads, infrastructure and operational components such as shuttle bus management. It will also include what trails and infrastructure are likely to be delivered within the current budget and the prioritisation of future investment.
Community and stakeholder consultation on the final draft master plan is expected to commence in March 2020. Feedback from this consultation will be used to inform the final master plan, which will go to Council and land managers for adoption. Council will then seek appropriate planning approvals prior to commencing construction.
There are a number of areas where trails and associated infrastructure are planned on private land. In these areas Council is currently negotiating appropriate agreements with the private parties. No agreements have been finalised and trails and/or infrastructure in these areas are conceptual only at this stage.
The Warburton Golf Course has been identified as a potential location for the main trail head. This would include the development of a 180 space car park and supporting facilities. This option is currently at concept stage and Council is working with Warburton Golf Club to explore opportunities that could benefit both the golf club and the WMBD project. Once the concepts are refined they will be proposed to the club membership in accordance with the club’s constitution.
The environmental submissions, made under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and the State Environmental Effects Act 1978 (EE Act), feature a wide range of studies including:
- Biodiversity Impact Assessment
- Environmental Risk Assessment
- Construction Environment Management Plan
- Cultural Heritage Management Plan
- Historic Heritage Survey
- Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment
- Surface Water and Geotechnical Assessment
- Geotechnical Risk Assessment
- Hydrogeological Assessment
- Noise Impact Assessment
- Air Quality Impact Assessment
- Bushfire Management Statement
- Traffic Impact Assessment
- Local Movement and Transport Report
- Health and Social Impact Assessment
The project team has been working with a number of respected consultants over the last 12 months to prepare these reports which will be released with the final draft master plan. Several reports will remain in draft and will be refined as the project progresses through further planning.
Many months of work has been carried out in the hills surrounding Warburton with specialists conducting field work, studies and assessments to ensure the WMBD delivers not just a world class mountain bike experience, but also sets the bar for environmental and heritage stewardship.