The Mt Buller & Mt Stirling Resort Management Board is pleased to announce exciting news about increasing the appeal and visitor capacity of Mt Buller and activation of the Mt Buller masterplan.
The conceptual masterplan was developed from 2009-11 through an extensive process of policy review and consultation and was approved by the Minister in 2016. The main elements were:
- a complete redevelopment of the Village Square precinct to make it a vibrant village heart;
- a multi-storey carpark on the site of the village toboggan park;
- extending the Celia’s toboggan park and making it the only such area on the mountain;
- a new gondola from Horse Hill to Alpine Central to provide access to / from the toboggan park and reduce the need for day-visitor buses from the carparks to the village;
- new day-visitor facilities at Horse Hill;
- four future development zones on the edges of the village;
- a summer activity zone running from Alpine Central to the bottom of the Tyrol T-Bar.
However very little progress has been made on implementation over the past 8 years due to the high costs involved (>$50m). In reviewing the masterplan, the RMB identified several other significant issues:
- It did not increase carparking capacity, converted overnight spaces to day spaces, and still required buses to transport visitors from the carparks to the new gondola;
- Day-visitor buses and a bus terminal in the village would still be required due to the risk of the new lift being put on wind-hold;
- It required a problematic, privately funded relocation of the Bourke Street lift;
- It required demolition and write-off of the Village Square Plaza building, part of the Cattleman’s building and the supermarket;
- It required a cohesive development of the old YHA and Kooroora sites - but the YHA site was subsequently redeveloped as Buller Central and planning approval had been granted for three buildings on the Kooroora site. This would have made it impossible to increase the size of the Village Square or widen the pedestrian link through to the current bus terminal without demolishing part of Village Square Plaza;
- There would be no toboggan or snowplay area close to the village, which would increase the risk of tobogganing within the ski area;
- It would encourage day-visitors to stay away from, rather than come to the village;
- There were limited year-round activations within the new Village Square;
- It did not provide any increase in capacity of the sewage treatment plant.
The RMB has been working on ways to overcome these issues and progress the key principles of the masterplan in a cost-effective manner so as to produce:
- An enlarged and vibrant village heart with a range of visitor activations all year round;
- Additional carparking capacity;
- Additional and enhanced snowplay and toboggan areas within close proximity to the village;
- Additional public visitor facilities within the village and increased capacity of the sewage treatment plant.
The key aspects of the RMB’s updated plans are:
- Stabilisation of Mirimbah Park and creation of a Snowplay Express Park & Ride service between Mirimbah and Mt Buller on the 8 peak weekends of July and August starting in 2019;
- Creation of an additional overnight carpark and emergency helipad along Corn Hill Road in time for the 2019 snow season;
- Progressive construction of a multi-storey day-visitor carpark at Horse Hill Lower, with the first stage expected to be operational for either the 2020 or 2021 snow season;
- An increase in the length and capacity of the village toboggan slope prior to the 2019 snow season with improved access from the Village Square and improved seating for visitors;
- The addition of a portable snowfactory in conjunction with Buller Ski Lifts, so that snow can be guaranteed on the village toboggan slope from Opening Weekend 2019, and on the Celia’s toboggan slope from the start of the term 2 school holidays;
- The addition of a beginner mountain bike trail around and through the village toboggan slope, with the pump track located in the middle, in time for summer 2019-20;
- Agreement with the Grollo Group that it will construct two, rather than three buildings on the Kooroora site, with the residual space being returned as public space and incorporated into an enlarged Village Square running from the Clock Tower to the CFA building and retaining all existing buildings in and around the Village Square;
- Construction of a multi-storey carpark on the identified development site to the west of Alpine Central, with an undercover bus terminal at grade and conversion of level 6 of Alpine Central into an arrivals and departure hall, in time for the 2020 or 2021 snow season;
- An alpine coaster and zip-lines capable of operating all year round from Alpine Central down towards the bottom of the Tyrol T-Bar;
- Conversion of Village Square Plaza into a rectangular 2-storey building with additional public toilets, more public space, and balconies to the north, south and west;
- Re-creation of the road from Buller Road (near the bottom of Delatite Lane) up to the CFA, with the current roadway from K2 Apartments down to the Clock Tower being converted into another snowplay / sliding zone;
- Development of activations throughout the enlarged Village Square which could include activities such as ice skating, roller skating, playground, skateboard park, waterplay, and snowplay.
Schematics outlining some of these options in and around the Village Square will be on show throughout the 2019 snow season as we seek Stakeholder and visitor feedback on how best to leverage the enlarged Village Square and make it the vibrant heart envisaged in the masterplan.