15 August 2018

Bright is set to lose its most popular beginner mountain bike trail, Pump Track, with the area of plantation surrounding it due for harvesting next year. But the scheduled harvest has opened a window of opportunity to make some much-needed changes to Bright’s mountain bike trail network and the community has come up with a plan – they just need your vote of support.

“On any given day you can find a family, new riders or even toddlers on runner bikes rolling around on Pump Track and it’s a truly wonderful thing to see,” said local resident Phillip Robichaud, member of the Alpine Cycling Club and the project’s proponent.

“Trails like Pump Track are so important to a cycling community because they are safe, easy to access, user-friendly, and are not only fun, but also exciting for all ages and skill levels. We want to secure funding to recreate that experience, while also taking this opportunity to move the trail to a more suitable location.”

Mr Robichaud, in cooperation with Alpine Community Plantation, has applied for $164,000 in State Government funding to build a new beginner mountain bike trail as well as a Mystic Park trailhead and rest shelter in a new location next to Dougherty’s Bridge in Rotary Pines.

Regenerating a run-down space

The proposal aims to transform the south-east corner of Rotary Pines from being a swampy snake-haven with a number of run-down bike trails into a rejuvenated community space with proper drainage, a machine-built beginner trail, new trees, landscaping and a Mystic Park trail head with an updated trail map and a rest shelter.

The application is part of the State Government’s Pick My Project initiative in which residents vote for projects they would like to see in their communities. The funding round has been seen as a window of opportunity to ensure local kids, beginners and visitors continue to have easy access to a flowy green-level mountain bike trail. The proposal also has a number of other community benefits, with the current alignment of the trail network toward Mystic Lane having outgrown its humble roots.

“With the sheer volume of users in Mystic Park over the last few years having increased, there have been some unintended disturbances for the residents on Mystic Lane,” Mr Robichaud said.

“By shifting the trailhead and beginner trail away from Mystic Lane, not only are we making access to the park safer and easier, but we’re also taking an active step to reduce the impact of the park’s popularity on our neighbours,” he said.

A better location for all

The upcoming harvest of the mature pines near Mystic Lane, scheduled for February 2019, also creates a timely opportunity to move and update Mystic Park’s trailhead, said Alia Parker, Executive Officer at Alpine Community Plantation, the not-for-profit group that fulfils the role of land manager for Mystic Park.

“Things have changed dramatically since the current trail head sign on Mystic Lane was installed; not only does the trail map need to be updated, but the location has begun to attract large numbers of visitors who linger close to houses,” Ms Parker said.

“A better solution for everyone is for us to relocate the trailhead to Rotary Pines. This area was previously out of bounds for us and has only recently come under Council Committee of Management, so the stars are aligning for us to move into a space that will better suit the growth our town is experiencing in mountain biking,” she said.

Ms Parker said these were important changes with broad support from the community. However, funding needed to be secured before the project could commence.

“We’re excited to be in the running for a slice of the Pick My Project funding, but we’re up against some stiff competition and we need all the support we can get to see our project through,” she said.

How to vote

Voting in the Pick My Project community grants initiative is open until 17 September 2018 and each resident can vote for three projects within their area. The projects with the most votes from each region to a total value of $1 million will receive funding. To ensure funds are distributed widely and across different types of projects and Council areas, no single Council or project category can exceed a total allocation of more than $500,000 within a region.

“I encourage everyone in the Alpine Shire to go onto the website and vote to ensure our communities receive some of the funding allocated to the Ovens Murray region. There are some wonderful projects proposed for our Shire, and with your votes, we could possibly see a number of our projects succeed,” Ms Parker said.

To vote, go to pickmyproject.vic.gov.au.