Common Ground Trails will be familiar to the Omeo community, as the company constructed the hugely popular Omeo Pump and Skills Track in 2020.
Cr Urie said the Omeo Mountain Bike (MTB) project has had a long and detailed development phase, including the development of a master plan and business plan to guide the project.
“The trails themselves have been through an extensive design process by a mountain bike design specialist. The project business plan has demonstrated the economic stimulation that this project can deliver for the Omeo district and is a project eagerly awaited by the Omeo community,” Cr Urie said.
“The community has been heavily invested in this project for some time, and we are all now starting to see the fruits of that labour. This really is an exciting time for all involved.
“The success of this project will be a result of the significant planning, but also how the community has embraced and driven the project from concept through to now.”
Construction is anticipated to commence from mid-2021 following the conclusion of all planning processes.
Council is seeking additional funding for construction of the remainder of the trail network and the contract awarded allows for a further 35 kilometres of trail to be constructed if secured.
A Project Control Group comprising of representatives from Council, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Parks Victoria, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR), East Gippsland Marketing and the project’s community reference group has been overseeing the project. A Memorandum of Understanding between Parks Victoria, DELWP and Council also underpins a partnership approach to delivering this landmark project.
Cr Urie said Council has been pursuing and progressing the development of the Omeo Mountain Bike Destination Project over the past five years in close partnership with the community.
“The project is seen to offer potential for significant economic and social benefits. Adventure tourism, particularly mountain biking, is one of the fastest growing tourism markets in Australia,” Cr Urie said.
“The trail network has been designed to provide a unique and engaging mountain bike experience that can be ridden over several consecutive days or a number of return visits.”
When fully developed, the network will include 121.58 kilometres of both cross-country and gravity trails of varying degrees of difficulty suitable for all types of riding ability from beginners through to dedicated mountain bike enthusiasts. The trails are also classed as a ‘nationally significant’ and meet Mountain Bike Australia criteria for national events.
The trails wind through the Mount Sam State Forest with gravity trails descending from both Mount Sam and the ridgelines of Mount Mesley directly above the township. All trails connect to Livingstone Park which is recognised as the primary trailhead with easy cross-country trails running along the Livingstone Creek corridor, connecting to the Oriental Claims Historic Area to the west and the caravan park to the east.