Date: 20th December 2024
// A Bright Secure Future with Professional Operations //
The Park’s popularity and tremendous increase in usage over the years has meant a dynamic and evolving approach to meet the growing demands of Park operations, trail maintenance, clean-up and risk management.
While preparations are underway for the transition to Council’s increasing role in Mystic’s management, Alpine Community Plantations (ACP) wants to take a moment to express their gratitude to all Mystic members for their efforts in keeping Mystic Park open through the ‘pay to play’ membership model. The overwhelming member support has been crucial in allowing ACP to swiftly bring on board contractors to assist with trail maintenance and safety management that is required to keep pace with a busy destination, and meet the responsibilities of running a mountain bike park.
Looking ahead, ACP expects Mystic Park’s usage to soar in 2024 and beyond, leading to new responsibilities and increased risk management requirements when running a popular MTB park inside an active pine plantation - which again has put pressure on ACP’s existing operating model.
To address these challenges, ACP enlisted expert consultants, to help ACP explore sustainable management options.
The consultants confirmed that Mystic Park has great potential to become Australia’s top mountain biking destination due to its unique steeper topography and close proximity to a major tourist town.
The ACP Board reviewed the recommendations provided by the consultants and strongly believe that for Mystic Park to thrive into the future and continue to meet necessary safety requirements, the park needs to outsource management to a single experienced and well-resourced professional operator.
ACP will be working with Council over the next few months to identify the most suitable professional operator for the Park via a Council-led Expression of Interest followed by a competitive evaluation to select the best partner for the job.
Under this professional operating model, services will be centralised, including:
managing risk management and safety
trail and road maintenance
building, repairing and maintenance of structures and signage
community and commercial events
But that’s not all! There will also be plans to enhance the park experience by asking the professional operators to provide new on-site services which may include:
food and beverage stalls
increases merchandise offerings
sponsorship of the trails
bike patrol during peak periods
first aid and emergency assistance
Once the new professional operating model starts in the middle of 2024, ACP will be dissolved, and Alpine Shire Council will assume management responsibility and contract administration of the successful Mystic Park operator.
Rest assured, ACP and Council are committed to involving the local and mountain bike community in the decision-making process to ensure their priorities are taken into account. The proposed 5 year contract will include clauses to guarantee continued access to the park for community recreational activities while at the same time ensuring HVP plantation forest management responsibilities are maintained.
This new professional operating model marks a significant and positive step forward for Mystic Park's secure future. ACP’s goal is to establish a stable and sustainable park that can reach its full potential and remain open all year round for walkers, riders, trail runners, and paragliders from near and far.
We will be holding community information sessions in early 2024 - watch this space for more information.
Alpine Shire Council to consider future operation of Mystic Park
Mystic Park is currently managed by Alpine Community Plantations (ACP), a not-for-profit group with volunteer representatives from Council, Alpine Cycling Club, Hancock Victorian Plantations (HVP), North East Victoria Hang Gliders Club, and Bright and District Chamber of Commerce.
The Park attracts around 63,000 visitors to the Alpine Shire each year, contributing more than $27.1 million into the local economy.
Next Tuesday 28th November, Alpine Shire Council will make a key decision on the future operation of Bright’s Mystic Park at the November Ordinary Council Meeting.
Council's Director Assets, and ACP Board Member, Alan Rees, said due to increasing visitation to the park, along with a growing number of user groups and events, a more contemporary operating model is now required to ensure maximum benefit to park users.
"Management of Mystic Park has been volunteer led, with ACP managing trail maintenance, ongoing operations, licensing, event management and liability," he said.
"The introduction of the membership model has enabled Mystic Park to remain viable over the last twelve months; however, in addition to financial security, we need to explore additional operating measures to enable a longer-term sustainable solution."
At the Ordinary Meeting held on 28 November, Council will vote on whether to negotiate a sub-licence agreement with HVP to oversee the operations and management of Mystic Park, and contract the operations of Mystic Park to a professional operator by way of an EOI process.
Mr Rees said if Council supports the motion, ACP will continue to work with the community and key stakeholders during this transition period to ensure user priorities can be managed within the contractual arrangement with the new operator.
"If we go down this path, the current community interests, access and safety principles will remain a key focus of the new operating model," he said.
The full report will be available in the November Ordinary Council Meeting Agenda, available on Council's website as of 4pm on Friday, 24 November 2023.