Warburton MTB Destination project update – Master Plan nearing completion and environmental works in progress
The Warburton Mountain Bike Destination (WMBD) Project team has been busy since the appointment of trail design and construction company World Trail in March. Work has included:
- refining the master plan in response to community feedback and specialist consultant works
- completing studies and assessments to inform an Environmental Effects Statement (EES) Referral and an Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Referral.
World Trail is currently reviewing the trail network to maximise user experience and address community, environmental and heritage concerns raised during community consultation and following additional technical assessments.
The finalised master plan document will provide details of the project including trail alignments, what the scope of the project includes and how it will be delivered.
The WMBD is being developed in a significant natural and cultural environment. Protecting and managing the environmental integrity of the surrounding areas is a high priority for Council and partnering agencies.
A forum was recently held with Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP), Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water, biodiversity consultants and environmental experts to discuss and inform reports being undertaken to identify sensitive flora and fauna and develop appropriate mitigation measures.
The project team is committed to minimising and mitigating any environmental impacts. It aims to improve the environmental values of the region and build stronger community connection with the environment.
Further studies have also been commissioned to ensure consideration is given to the landscape, including a Biodiversity Impact, Geotechnical, Surface Water and Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment.
These assessments and reports will inform further planning and be included in the EES Referral and the EPBC Referral.
Environmental Effects Statement (EES) Referral
To inform further project planning, the WMBD project team will undertake an EES Referral once all supporting information has been compiled later this year.
Under the Environmental Effects Act (1978) projects that may have significant effect on the environment can be referred to the Minister for Planning.
The EES Referral provides the Minister and appropriate government agencies with a high level of detail on the project including detailed risk management strategies aimed at ensuring the environmental effects can be appropriately managed.
The areas covered by an EES Referral include:
- a description of the proposed project
- an outline of public and stakeholder consultation undertaken during investigations and the issues raised
- project implementation
- a description of the existing environment that may be affected
- predictions of significant environmental effects of the proposal and relevant solutions
- proposed measures to avoid, minimise or manage adverse environmental effects
Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Referral
To determine whether the project will need formal assessment and approval under the Australian Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), an EPBC Referral is being prepared.
The EPBC Act is the environmental protection legislation that covers environmental assessment and approvals. It protects significant biodiversity and integrates the management of important natural and cultural places.
EES and EPBC Referral Outcomes
The outcomes of the EES and EPBC Referral will determine the next steps required in finalising the planning for the project and ensure the environmental impact of the project is managed appropriately.
The review of alignments and work being done in the environmental and heritage areas for the EES and EPBC Referrals will inform the final master plan document that Council will present to the community later this year.
We’ll have regular updates as works continue, join our mailing list to stay in the loop.