Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Omeo Mountain trails aim for the sky

Work has begun on the development of 121 kilometres of competition-grade mountain bike trails in the Gippsland alpine town of Omeo.

Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Victoria, Danielle Green announced the start of works on the first stage of the Omeo Mountain Bike project – which will be backed by an additional $3.2 million investment from the Regional Tourism Investment Fund to deliver the project’s second stage.

“This project puts Omeo on the world map as an internationally recognised destination for mountain biking and means more people will be able to discover and enjoy this beautiful part of East Gippsland,” said Ms Green.

The new investment builds on the Government’s existing $1 million to support the first 57 kilometre stage, including cross-country and downhill tracks of varying difficulty ranging from beginners through to experienced mountain bikers.

“The start of stage one works is what we’ve all been waiting for,” said East Gippsland Shire Council Mayor, Mark Reeves.

“The sky’s the limit for cycle-tourism in the Omeo region and further funding for stage two will ramp up enthusiasm locally and further afield.”

Stage two works will create an additional 64 kilometres of bike trails, bringing the total Omeo Mountain Bike project to 121 kilometres of connected tracks which will meet Mountain Bike Australia’s criteria for national events.

A sod-turning ceremony was held on Friday.

Once complete, the trail project is set to capture nationwide demand for outdoor adventure, winding through Mount Sam State Forest and the Oriental Claims Historic Area parkland.

It’s hoped the project will boost Omeo’s reputation as an all-year-round tourism destination with the first trail expected to be ready by March next year.

The project will create 17 full time construction jobs across both stages. Once completed, the trails will create 20 new full time jobs in the first year.

The Government’s funding is provided through the Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund and the Regional Tourism Investment Fund, with support from East Gippsland Shire Council and the Commonwealth Government.

“This project will boost tourism, local businesses and support jobs in Omeo and surrounding towns, helping the Gippsland economy bounce back after the impacts of bushfires, drought and the pandemic,” said Minister for Regional Development, Mary-Anne Thomas.

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