News Falls Creek Hotham Alpine Crossing. The master plan. What a heap of horsepoo.

Ubiquitous Steve

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Perhaps Parks Vic better watch out for Intergalactic Auxiliary and Rescue Command!...:eek::eek::eek:

Holy moly Jesus Brother Gut may be planning a Reno job once High Knob Glamper ville is constructed...o_O.

But it's alright he does things "on behalf of higher powers"
Perhaps Boris Becker has given Parks Vic some warnings:whistle:
 

Moondog55

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Ubiquitous Steve

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Such small biscuits for govt....when they have just wasted so much money on insidious Management Draft Meetings,Consultants and glossy publications!.......

Yes going around in circles is exactly what this whole charade is doing .....
Tawonga Huts could have had a retrofit cattleman chimney with a Roper/Weston's like wood heater to boot...instead of the smoking open fireplace....much benefit could have gone down in so many areas for a few thousand dollars!
 

Bogong

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I do agree that the route of the new walk is highly "contrived" and I don't think it will be as successful as was hoped. But I don't think building it has anything to do with "politicians... feel the urge to spend taxpayer $$$$s in support of some private business".

"Political awareness" of the area amongst city politicians really just goes back 15 or so years to the debate over grazing. The mountain cattlemen did a great job of publicising what they saw as their right to remain on their ancestral lands. While they may have won the publicity battle, in the end they lost the war. But due to the cattlemen's successful spin campaign, politicians and bureaucrats became aware of the shortage of non agricultural jobs for them to go to. So they fell back on the standard city persons response to potential rural unemployment "give them jobs in tourism".

Now not even the most deluded yuppie or hipster who has never left the inner city could imagine a drover becoming a waiter and swapping his stockwhip for a lace apron. So in order to "resolve" the mountain grazing issue, the government did what governments often do with problems and threw a heap of money at it. Some of the money was spent on useful but intangible things like retraining, some of the money was spent on useful things like sealing the Bogong High Plains Road and some was wasted on useless local projects or by paying city companies millions to write feasibility reports and the like.

So this 5 day Falls to Hotham walk is partly an extension of what began 15 years ago and partly the reaction by politicians and bureaucrats to people getting excited by "a shinny thing". In this case the shinny thing is big name walks. The mindset was probably along the lines of "Tasmania and New Zealand have iconic walks that get lots of publicity and tourist dollars, so let's get one of those for Victoria".

But sadly these big name walks can't be bought, nor can they be manufactured. The only walks that have become international drawcards in their own right have a reputation that evolved over decades because they have the best reward for effort. So despite the sincere best efforts of the consultants who designed the walk, I'm fairly sure that it won't "sell" by attracting sufficient walkers to justify the expense, nor will it generate many local jobs except during a brief construction phase.

If they really wanted to artificially create a big name walk they should have informally chatted to five groups. (and not gone all bureaucratic and formed expensive 'consultative committees' and invited written submissions). Those groups are:
  1. Local business people, especially but not confined to local tourist industry businesses.
  2. People who have guided first time tourist walkers in the area.
  3. Experienced hikers who know the area well, both clubs and individuals.
  4. Agencies responsible for big name walks like Milford and Overland (by email, no expensive junkets to Tassie or NZ)
  5. Tourist nufties who can be found in places like the Bright and Mt Beauty tourist info centres.
 
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Xplora

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But due to the cattlemen's successful spin campaign, politicians and bureaucrats became aware of the shortage of non agricultural jobs for them to go to. So they fell back on the standard city persons response to potential rural unemployment "give them jobs in tourism".
While I do agree with your sentiment I am having trouble reconciling whether your comments are based on factual information or assumption and gut feeling. The Lovick's and Stoney's had a tourism business prior to being kicked of the mountains but I am trying to think of others who have gone into tourism after the cattle leases were taken away. They all have working farms in the lower country. Treasures still have state forest lease in Alpine areas. Faithful's are still working their extensive holdings and nothing else, Batty's the same, Tony Fitzgerald works Mon-Frid on the road crew but did that before when his father was alive. I would be interested to know if you have more info.
some of the money was spent of useful things like sealing the Bogong High Plains Road
Some state government money (via Vic Roads) was handed over to the shires to seal the road. It would appear they decided to do a quick (dodgy) job and pocket the rest or distribute it to other roads in the shire. Some of the money was to be used for maintenance in the years to come. In fact the manner this road was sealed is an abuse of public money and the entire surface needs to be ripped up and done properly. The corrugations were simply tarred over. The Alpine shire decided the dirt from the AGL tunnel would be a good base and cheap because it was not far away. Everybody is now blaming somebody else fro the mistakes made on this road. The Alpine shire now do very little to maintain their part apart from some pot hole filling in spring and speed restriction signs. The Omeo Hwy sealing project is an example of how things should have been done. $14M was allocated and the company came in $1M under plus finished it before scheduled.

The mindset was probably along the lines of "Tasmania and New Zealand have iconic walks that get lots of publicity and tourist dollars, so let's get one of those for Victoria".
Not to be outdone by these, Victoria decided it would do a number of iconic walks. There are 3 currently listed (FHAC being one),The Great Ocean Walk (running at a loss) and the Grampians Peak Trail. The next on the list is Croajingolong coast walk. But you are correct, the mindset was to try and suck in some of the tourist dollars going elsewhere. PV acknowledge that is going to be difficult as the target market is quite discerning.
If they really wanted to artificially create a big name walk they should have informally chatted to five groups.
There was some consultation in the early stage with experienced bushwalkers and many like myself told them to take a jump when they revealed what they intended. I am led to believe there was some consultation with the people running the other walks also but can't confirm. Tourism NE is a driving force with the Falls Creek RMB and have provided significant data but none have bothered to survey those whom this type of walk is marketed to. The data provided was very much flawed anyway. There may be a very small market for guided and fully catered walks in the area but it would not substantiate the capital investment from the government at this stage.

I understand that the walk itself had to be contrived to make it different from the AAWT (which it follows mostly on the current alignment, apart from Heathy Spur). It also need to take advantage of some areas which could be serviced by road and the only place that cannot is High Knob camp on the Razorback. This camp is critical to the plan (contrived walk) but PV admit very few will take up the challenge of Diamantina spur so the cost to build and service it may in fact be the downfall of the project, although it may evolved using Machinery or Swindler spurs but then it may as well stay with the AAWT. I doubt Tourism NE or Falls RMB will care as long as the serviced huts are built on the High Plains and can be used for back country ski accommodation when nobody wants to use them for the walk. If the walk is successful then they win also but take the winter accommodation away and I am sure the RMB will lose interest quickly.

The money in the current budget is for the design stage plus the economic and environmental assessments and that will take some time. It may also show the entire exercise is fruitless. There still needs to be some changes in planning laws to allow the huts to be built but nobody seem to be able to answer the question as to which laws. DELWP may in fact put a stop to it. Planning laws for accommodation are very strict and changing the laws for this one place could be problematic for the rest of the state. Also, if meals are to be provided by way of cooking on site (by anyone other than the client and not including mircowave reheating of pre-packaged food) then the kitchen has be be an approved commercial kitchen with refrigeration for food, hot and cold running water, at least 2 sinks and a range hood. An all weather road access is required and should encircle the building and at least 10000 litres of water has to be held separately for fire fighting. There are also requirements for the number of toilets and showers. I would also suggest the luxury theme has been played out and nothing built will fall into that description according to PV. So whatever is built has to be legal or made legal by changing the law. Concepts may look shiny but when it comes to the execution of the concept the reality hits.

I am reminded of someone's brilliant idea to build a railway over the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, via the Grose Valley. A team of Army engineers sitting around doing nothing in Port Arthur were commissioned to survey the route and took a number of years doing it. When complete the person who commissioned them went out to have a look and hit the roof. There was clearly no way a railway could be built there and many years had been wasted on the project. It was however a very nice bridle track and the engineers did a great job. The project was abandoned and within couple of years the bridle track had been closed in places due to rock slides. It would have been obvious much earlier if someone in the government actually went out to have a look. History repeating.
 

Bogong

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Thanks for the response Xplora. I decided to delay that post for a few weeks to allow the low level sparring and point scoring that had characterised this thread to die down.

I think everyone agreed that the BHP road had been badly sealed on the cheap when it happened about 10-ish years ago. But that's just a symptom of my argument that state governments will throw just enough money at a problem to make it go away for a few electoral cycles (by which time the other mob will be in power). Unlike the BHP road which was sealed mostly for city based tourists, the Omeo highway was sealed partly for local pork barrelling reasons. The Nats promised to seal it if voters replaced the Labor aligned independent MP for East Gippsland with a National Party MP and the locals were sufficiently savvy that they would see through a cheap and dirty job like the recently completed BHP road.

Yes some of the better known mountain cattlemen families had other forms of income, but others relied on grazing with small holdings in the valleys that were big enough to pasture cattle in winter, but too small to sustain sufficient cattle all year round to make a living. Moreover almost all lease holders employed extra labour to help them manage their leases. This extra income from doing casual work for the mountain cattlemen was important for many locals who had low incomes from other sources.

'Iconic' walks. Aaaargh! As I said in my post yesterday, they can't be bought or manufactured, they have to evolve to incorporate a sensible route connecting appealing locations. The Great Ocean Walk has a snappy name (give a bonus to the marketing company who thought that one up), but most of it is a rather dull trudge connecting a few sections that are rather lovely. It's become less popular as people are realising that the walk experience doesn't measure up to the marketing spin. By contrast this Falls to Hotham walk zig-zags around all over the place in an attempt to visit every minor point of interest. Most people reading this will have hiked between the two ski towns in a single longish day, A new route designed to make things easier might be justified over two days, but five days? That's just bonkers. There are much better routes for a five day easier walk in the area that would be more satisfying to people unfamiliar with the area and which would be cheaper to build but be more popular, thus delivering more money and jobs to the local economy. I outlined one from Bogong Village via the tram and Bogong Creek Saddle to Hotham in an earlier post, but there are a few other possibilities that would be a better experience for tourists and cheaper to build than the proposed one.

... And yes, I agree, a sensible tourist route would go via either Swindlers or Machinery spurs, trying to send crowds of nufties up Diamantina Spur is just asking for the whole concept to fail... (unless they install an escalator.)

Planning laws? These can easily be discreetly "adjusted" on a "one off, unique case" basis if both Labor and Liberal agree, especially if the Nats are urging the bigger political parties on.
 

Chaeron

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I reckon they should give the resorts what they want w.r.t. modern serviceable huts between Falls and Hotham, at or near Westons and Dibbins.

For the Dibbins location you could put it further down towards Swindlers Spur so its out of the line of sight of Dibbins hut itself.

I.M.O building the lease for these into the resort leases will make them workable and sustainable in ways that are otherwise improbable.

Look at the Tassie tussle over private for profit operations in national parks:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-...operator-halls-island-proposal-in-wha/9636466

This will allow the resorts to run guided backcountry ski tours - either there or back (20km ski trip over 2 days) or the crossing.

This will also give them their crossing hike during summer.

It will protect Feathers for posterity and allow them to have huts which are more easily serviceable.

The only issue is that the route is ‘unspectacular’ - ironically the vistas are great while the walking/ skiing is easier.

A proposal like this is the middle way, unattractive as it may appear, and as contrary to the spirit of National Parks as it may be.

The Victorian Libs-National coalition have always had a thing about exploiting the National Parks more in terms of opening them to private operators - the whole Point Nepean debate is a good example of this, besides of course the whole cattlemen of the high country nexus.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/...epean-redevelopment-saga-20160416-go7ysp.html

My logic for this proposal is that it aligns with the primary intentions of the main movers of the original proposal - the commercial parties, while simultaneously reducing the impact on the National Park as a whole.

Personally I still hold that additional development in National Parks is wholly inappropriate, but raising their profile by increasing managed use is a key factor to developing the political awareness which is central to their continued protection.

0E6D4472-D46B-4EA3-A6E1-8C41011CA1C6.png
 

Chaeron

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Thanks for the response Xplora. I decided to delay that post for a few weeks to allow the low level sparring and point scoring that had characterised this thread to die down.

I think everyone agreed that the BHP road had been badly sealed on the cheap when it happened about 10-ish years ago. But that's just a symptom of my argument that state governments will throw just enough money at a problem to make it go away for a few electoral cycles (by which time the other mob will be in power). Unlike the BHP road which was sealed mostly for city based tourists, the Omeo highway was sealed partly for local pork barrelling reasons. The Nats promised to seal it if voters replaced the Labor aligned independent MP for East Gippsland with a National Party MP and the locals were sufficiently savvy that they would see through a cheap and dirty job like the recently completed BHP road.

Yes some of the better known mountain cattlemen families had other forms of income, but others relied on grazing with small holdings in the valleys that were big enough to pasture cattle in winter, but too small to sustain sufficient cattle all year round to make a living. Moreover almost all lease holders employed extra labour to help them manage their leases. This extra income from doing casual work for the mountain cattlemen was important for many locals who had low incomes from other sources.

'Iconic' walks. Aaaargh! As I said in my post yesterday, they can't be bought or manufactured, they have to evolve to incorporate a sensible route connecting appealing locations. The Great Ocean Walk has a snappy name (give a bonus to the marketing company who thought that one up), but most of it is a rather dull trudge connecting a few sections that are rather lovely. It's become less popular as people are realising that the walk experience doesn't measure up to the marketing spin. By contrast this Falls to Hotham walk zig-zags around all over the place in an attempt to visit every minor point of interest. Most people reading this will have hiked between the two ski towns in a single longish day, A new route designed to make things easier might be justified over two days, but five days? That's just bonkers. There are much better routes for a five day easier walk in the area that would be more satisfying to people unfamiliar with the area and which would be cheaper to build but be more popular, thus delivering more money and jobs to the local economy. I outlined one from Bogong Village via the tram and Bogong Creek Saddle to Hotham in an earlier post, but there are a few other possibilities that would be a better experience for tourists and cheaper to build than the proposed one.

... And yes, I agree, a sensible tourist route would go via either Swindlers or Machinery spurs, trying to send crowds of nufties up Diamantina Spur is just asking for the whole concept to fail... (unless they install an escalator.)

Planning laws? These can easily be discreetly "adjusted" on a "one off, unique case" basis if both Labor and Liberal agree, especially if the Nats are urging the bigger political parties on.

+1,000. Between @Xplora and @Bogong I reckon the debate is settled. I reckon a sensible letter to the Merlin management board (current Falls/ Hotham leaseholders) and Spring Street, and DPSE and Tourism Vic would get a hearing in a way that the ‘public consultation process’ might not.

The accountants who have to sign off on breakeven analyses will see things more objectively than the parties with an eye on electoral issues.
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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Thanks for the response Xplora. I decided to delay that post for a few weeks to allow the low level sparring and point scoring that had characterised this thread to die down.

I think everyone agreed that the BHP road had been badly sealed on the cheap when it happened about 10-ish years ago. But that's just a symptom of my argument that state governments will throw just enough money at a problem to make it go away for a few electoral cycles (by which time the other mob will be in power). Unlike the BHP road which was sealed mostly for city based tourists, the Omeo highway was sealed partly for local pork barrelling reasons. The Nats promised to seal it if voters replaced the Labor aligned independent MP for East Gippsland with a National Party MP and the locals were sufficiently savvy that they would see through a cheap and dirty job like the recently completed BHP road.

Yes some of the better known mountain cattlemen families had other forms of income, but others relied on grazing with small holdings in the valleys that were big enough to pasture cattle in winter, but too small to sustain sufficient cattle all year round to make a living. Moreover almost all lease holders employed extra labour to help them manage their leases. This extra income from doing casual work for the mountain cattlemen was important for many locals who had low incomes from other sources.

'Iconic' walks. Aaaargh! As I said in my post yesterday, they can't be bought or manufactured, they have to evolve to incorporate a sensible route connecting appealing locations. The Great Ocean Walk has a snappy name (give a bonus to the marketing company who thought that one up), but most of it is a rather dull trudge connecting a few sections that are rather lovely. It's become less popular as people are realising that the walk experience doesn't measure up to the marketing spin. By contrast this Falls to Hotham walk zig-zags around all over the place in an attempt to visit every minor point of interest. Most people reading this will have hiked between the two ski towns in a single longish day, A new route designed to make things easier might be justified over two days, but five days? That's just bonkers. There are much better routes for a five day easier walk in the area that would be more satisfying to people unfamiliar with the area and which would be cheaper to build but be more popular, thus delivering more money and jobs to the local economy.
+1,000. Between @Xplora and @Bogong I reckon the debate is settled. I reckon a sensible letter to the Merlin management board (current Falls/ Hotham leaseholders) and Spring Street, and DPSE and Tourism Vic would get a hearing in a way that the ‘public consultation process’ might not.

The accountants who have to sign off on breakeven analyses will see things more objectively than the parties with an eye on electoral issues.
Team Bears would suggest that debate is far from settled and see input from all posters as relevant.

Dibbins M2!

!Now that's a concept in itself!R u sugggesting that the roading continue past Red Robin Battery
over Dibbins Divide and diwn into the top of the Cobungarra Head Waters??
Or will another Helipad be your solution to facilitate this new construction ?
Oh I would not be making any concessions at this point in time!
Hold your powder.....there will be plenty more fun and games left to play in the next five years before this project is scrapped and the ANP ecology is protected from zealots out to make ill gotten gains by trashing the environment!
 
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Ubiquitous Steve

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DELWP staff need to stand their ground ....they will be instrumental in bringing diwn this shonky proposal and not making concessions to placate any in those Resort Management Boards .:mad:
 

Xplora

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Thanks for the response Xplora. I decided to delay that post for a few weeks to allow the low level sparring and point scoring that had characterised this thread to die down.
I had kind of given up on this thread for the very same reason but you have put something new into the mix and it was worth a response. Still processing things but I can see more agreement with your sentiment and content.
 
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Ubiquitous Steve

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Team Bears say never give up you can always "cut your way"through it just takes patience and skill.

No getting side tracked!:whistle:
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

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Is anybody really serious about this folly of a walk?
The powers that be have started making noises about this farce of a development. They are not going to forget about it or drop it. Meanwhile check the hut log books this summer to ascertain how many people are walking the present FHAC route. Not enough to justify the FHAC redevelopment .
 

skifree

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Mister Tee on XC Skis

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Hopefully they are not turning Diamintina Horse Yards into a circus ?
NO, The idea was ( in the Master draft of the FHAC glossy booklet ) to turn the old accommodation used by the former lease holder /Miner Ken Harris into glamping units with the old helipad being reborn for choppers bringing in gourmet food and wine and slaves to peel grapes etc. being used to bring that stuff in by helicopter.
 
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Gerardskier

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The FHAC route has now formed up by Parks Victoria. The current plan includes weather sealed roofed accommodation close to the Razorback at the top of the Diamantina Spur, contracted to private companies to provide accommodation and bedding, fully catered services, deck chairs, kitchen dining tables etc to those able to pay. I understand from Parks Victoria that the site will be serviced by Helicopter. Some of the sites will exclude traditional users such as back country types.
ParksVic do not intend to lease the area but just to license private operators.
I attach a photo from the Master Plan illustrating the kind of development Parks would like at the top of the Diamantina
 

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Mister Tee on XC Skis

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The FHAC route has now formed up by Parks Victoria. The current plan includes weather sealed roofed accommodation close to the Razorback at the top of the Diamantina Spur, contracted to private companies to provide accommodation and bedding, fully catered services, deck chairs, kitchen dining tables etc to those able to pay. I understand from Parks Victoria that the site will be serviced by Helicopter. Some of the sites will exclude traditional users such as back country types.
ParksVic do not intend to lease the area but just to license private operators.
I attach a photo from the Master Plan illustrating the kind of development Parks would like at the top of the Diamantina
Turning the top of the Diamantina spur/ High Knob into CLUB MED with a helipad will not be welcomed by the VNPA.
What is it with these projects i.e. " let 's develop our Nat. Parks for user pays people " FFS? Parks Vic. hardly have the money to look after and properly manage what is already there .
They are killing the goose that lays the golden egg. This is development and privatization by increment.
IMHO It will not be economically viable.
 
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

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The idea that people with limited fitness and experience can be sent up the Diamantina spur without carrying their own tent , spare food and no stove is an accident waiting to happen.
Even if the whole foot route is converted into a wheel chair friendly route the unpredictable Alpine weather, sharp elevation gain and so on are things that are not to be approached with a cavalier attitude.
Yes there may be a hut up there somewhere in the future , according to the plans but in horrid weather , zero visibility with exhausted newbies it may NOT be a viable or safe and sensible option to just push on regardless.
I have been up the Diamantina spur with a full pack once, and down it once with a full pack. I have no great urge to do that again soon :-0.
The camp site where the hut/s and helipad are planned to be built is wonderful and should be left as it is .
I will be quite sad if they despoil this magical place. See my photo from one of my trips up there , camping at that spot. BYO water .
_SAM6263.JPG
 
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hongomania

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What a ridiculously stupid proposal. How much public money has been wasted on this

Just as bad as nsw and their wild horse protection bill

Continually finding new ways to further degrade our protected environments

Plenty of under utilised infrastructure at the resorts

Use the money for existing track maintenance

Pay for guides / Sherpas and equipment for lower impact but still comfortable hiking style camping. With today's gear it's easily done

Diamantina spur really is a special place, go and check it out and see if you agree
 

hongomania

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How does a proposal to build elite cabins in a national park, with a user pays model, serviced by HELICOPTERS, fly (pun intended) in this day and age

I know I said money talks, but I would have thought national park environment would have been protected by parks vic. They probably have a lot of scope in their mandate? And in the national park legislation?

Parks Victoria and other public servants working on this should be ashamed of themselves
 

hongomania

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4wd accessed camping, day hikes, overnight hikes, horse riding etc etc means the national park can be accessed by all ages and abilities

Using existing infrastructure

Without the need to spoil Diamantina

This is a east to west high Ridge nestled in amongst VIC 2nd biggest mountain and the northern fault of the high Plains. This is objectively valuable mountain terrain, in a country with extremely limited alpine terrain

Leave it be
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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Shocking proposal.Bears have been continually pushing for work and restoration of Blair’s and Dibbins.Even for a wood stove upgrade for Tawonga.....

mickey mouse expenditure required ......

But...alas Parks want to sell out to private enterprise.

A stupid waste of tax payers money.....a remarklabke and semi wild Spur....Bears have lugged baby echo up there a couple of times and trimmed a little fallen stuff.But this project in monstrous ....it’s an insult to Team Bears.
 

mr

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I suspect thats what will happen - nothing. I cant see a vendor-bid getting up for this. However, I got an advanced notification of a future tender release for design for this project the other day, and i will check the documents when they are out and see whats in there
 
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Luken

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The FHAC route has now formed up by Parks Victoria. The current plan includes weather sealed roofed accommodation close to the Razorback at the top of the Diamantina Spur, contracted to private companies to provide accommodation and bedding, fully catered services, deck chairs, kitchen dining tables etc to those able to pay. I understand from Parks Victoria that the site will be serviced by Helicopter. Some of the sites will exclude traditional users such as back country types.
ParksVic do not intend to lease the area but just to license private operators.
I attach a photo from the Master Plan illustrating the kind of development Parks would like at the top of the Diamantina
Are we sure this isn't just a troll..?? It sounds ridiculous.. I have no issue with something similar that could be serviced by road, in an easier to access place like the high plains out the back of Falls or Loch area possibly.. but on the Razorback.. by Helicopter?.. surely you jest...
 

Xplora

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Are we sure this isn't just a troll..?? It sounds ridiculous.. I have no issue with something similar that could be serviced by road, in an easier to access place like the high plains out the back of Falls or Loch area possibly.. but on the Razorback.. by Helicopter?.. surely you jest...
This was all in the original master plan and I am not aware of anything new. Perhaps @Gerardskier could post a link to any new information. The plan for helicopters would be more about a sneaky way to introduce heli skiing than anything to do with this walk. I would not be getting our knickers in a knot just yet. No tour operators have plans to take anyone up Diamantina spur. That was taken off the table very early in this debate. Perhaps in time there may be someone game enough but I would suggest it will only happen once.
 
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Gerardskier

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Are we sure this isn't just a troll..?? It sounds ridiculous.. I have no issue with something similar that could be serviced by road, in an easier to access place like the high plains out the back of Falls or Loch area possibly.. but on the Razorback.. by Helicopter?.. surely you jest...
I would love to say I am jesting but the project has already received $17 Million and tenders have been advertized. This development at the top of Diamantina will happen unless the outdoor community stops it.
 

Gerardskier

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This was all in the original master plan and I am not aware of anything new. Perhaps @Gerardskier could post a link to any new information. The plan for helicopters would be more about a sneaky way to introduce heli skiing than anything to do with this walk. I would not be getting our knickers in a knot just yet. No tour operators have plans to take anyone up Diamantina spur. That was taken off the table very early in this debate. Perhaps in time there may be someone game enough but I would suggest it will only happen once.
 

Gerardskier

First Runs
Sep 13, 2021
5
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1
I am happy to provide more information.The original DRAFT master plan was published in 2016. There was a consultation process. Approx 85% of respondents were opposed to the idea of development of the proposed Diamantina/Razorback development. I have analyzed the original data. Then Parks endorsed the finding that "Overall there was a positive response to the plan" This misrepresentation has been exposed but Parks have not repudiated the false conclusion. The next and final Master Plan was published in 2018. It is at https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/-/medi.../falls-hotham-alpine-crossing-master-plan.pdf. It details location of campsites/buildings and areas from which ordinary self sufficient travellers will be excluded. (Refer page 62 and 74 of the FHAC Master plan). The Master Plan is based explicitly on the licencing of Licenced Tour Operators who will have exclusive access to the taxpayer funded buildings. (!) Yes that is what the plan is.
 

Xplora

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I would love to say I am jesting but the project has already received $17 Million and tenders have been advertized. This development at the top of Diamantina will happen unless the outdoor community stops it.
I am not sure there is anyway to stop it aside from court action. If the development is legal there are few legs to stand on. If PV do the buildings it may not be subject to many of the planning requirements. Money has been allocated for the walk but big chunks will be going into track maintenance and signage. How much will go to buildings is not known. I am sure the RMB will promote accommodation on the Razerback in winter and it may cater for those who want more than a day trip to Feathertop in summer.

Each area of the park has a specific zoning and any development has to align with that. This may provide some avenue. If you want to stop it you best start a go fund me and expect it to cost a lot of money. The VNPA may be the best organisation to promote any action. Also consider Bushwalking Vic. Submissions, petitions, meetings, protests and any other rant on a forum will have little effect in the long term. PV know the economic modelling is significantly flawed but the government wants this to happen.
 
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Xplora

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I am happy to provide more information.The original DRAFT master plan was published in 2016. There was a consultation process. Approx 85% of respondents were opposed to the idea of development of the proposed Diamantina/Razorback development. I have analyzed the original data. Then Parks endorsed the finding that "Overall there was a positive response to the plan" This misrepresentation has been exposed but Parks have not repudiated the false conclusion. The next and final Master Plan was published in 2018. It is at https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/-/medi.../falls-hotham-alpine-crossing-master-plan.pdf. It details location of campsites/buildings and areas from which ordinary self sufficient travellers will be excluded. (Refer page 62 and 74 of the FHAC Master plan). The Master Plan is based explicitly on the licencing of Licenced Tour Operators who will have exclusive access to the taxpayer funded buildings. (!) Yes that is what the plan is.
I have read the plan, made submissions, attended two meetings and made significant comment opposing the idea. The exclusion of other campers was part of the initial objections and PV backed off it to some degree but there is still some exclusion around camp areas where there is hard roofed accommodation. You may note on the other thread currently running on the tenders I stated the original plan provided for 17,000 people each year doing this walk. Just pie in the sky stuff. PV still has to find someone who will take on the licence and the risk. Those running the tours now have a pretty good idea of what this walk can achieve economically. It will take a lot of selling to fill luxury accommodation. I am not saying it can't happen but for it to be sustainable in the long term may prove difficult. My thoughts have always been the hard roofed accommodation is more about the RMB's getting further access to the National Park for winter activity. They have not shown much interest in supporting business in summer historically. Plenty of opportunity for good food and accommodation plus guided walks around the Park all from the base already established. Why has this not been supported to any great extent? I will say, Cedarwood at Falls Creek have been very supportive of summer activities as has Milch.
 

Gerardskier

First Runs
Sep 13, 2021
5
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1
I can further respond to your request for more information. While the Diamantina is a grunt at present, major new tracks are planned for the Diamantina to make it easier for hikers including the fully guided Licensed tour hikers. The 2018 master plan (the current plan) provides illustrations of track improvements on P57. See the photo.

Types of track photo from FHAC Master Plan.png
 

Xplora

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I can further respond to your request for more information. While the Diamantina is a grunt at present, major new tracks are planned for the Diamantina to make it easier for hikers including the fully guided Licensed tour hikers. The 2018 master plan (the current plan) provides illustrations of track improvements on P57. See the photo.

Types of track photo from FHAC Master Plan.png
Most of this has been discussed in the previous pages but it is good to bring a fresh eye to it. A series of switchbacks are planned for Diamantina and the images above are examples. I would not get too carried away with images from a marketing plan. That is all the 'master plan' was. It is a concept plan at best and still has to provide a proper economic assessment and Environmental statement. None of this has been done on the ground and the EIS was to be released in the last decade. Where is it? There is certainly room for improvement on some sections of the walk. Erosion caused by lots of people walking over wet ground needs to be controlled. Ruts have formed and new ruts beside those are forming.

Making Diamantina easier for those who are looking for a 'walk in the park' walk will be impossible. It will be easier for those not carrying a load but still a grunt for the average punter. A commercial operator will be looking at how much money can be made out of it and this climb will take away a large portion of the potential clients unless a gondala is put in. I see no point focusing your attention on how easy or hard Diamantina spur is. It is irrelevant in this debate. The marketing team walked up it and think they can sell it. Who is going to buy though?
 
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Dropbear

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Approx 85% of respondents were opposed to the idea of development of the proposed Diamantina/Razorback development. I have analyzed the original data. Then Parks endorsed the finding that "Overall there was a positive response to the plan" This misrepresentation has been exposed but Parks have not repudiated the false conclusion.

From your analysis, do you have evidence to show where the spin / fraud is occurring? For example, does the engagement consultant's report represent the feedback correctly, only to be misrepresented in the Final Master Plan?

If so, it sounds like it could be misconduct on behalf of PV, and the responsibility for this lies with the minister responsible.

With the evidence you have collected, perhaps you could go to Helen Haines or Rex Patrick - someone with a platform of 'keeping the bastards honest' who can kick up a stink about it?
 
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Xplora

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I received this today as an email. There does not appear to be any web based link to view it so it has been provided in full for you. Hopefully the links to register for updates works.

Date: 14 Sept 2021, 11:13
From: engage@parks.vic.gov.au
To:
Subject: Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing Spring Community Update
ParksVictorialogo.png
FHACbanner-9900000000079e3c.jpg

Welcome to the first edition of the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing Community Update. In this initial edition we are providing an update on where the project is at, as well as answering some key questions around the project.​

The Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing will be one of Australia’s outstanding alpine walking experiences that captures the essence of the Australian Alps – the solitude, the seasons, the breathtaking beauty and the stories of the High Country.
The Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing Master Plan outlines the proposed 57-kilometre, multi-day route, combining and upgrading an existing track network, which will take in the Diamantina Spur and Razorback with an optional ascent of Mount Feathertop, Victoria’s second-highest peak. The facilities created as part of the five-day, four-night route may also provide options for shorter overnight walks.
Since the finalisation of the Master Plan, Parks Victoria received money in 2018 to start doing the detailed planning and business case. In 2020 further funding was received to build the first stage of the walk. These are the two pieces of work we are providing an update for here.
EnvSurveyingFHAC-9900000000079e3c.jpg
Environmental Surveying

Project update
In 2018 Parks Victoria was given $2 million to undertake detailed assessments and planning for the Falls to Alpine Crossing. Despite delays due to the current health situation a range of work has been done over the past 18 months including, a preliminary Environmental Values Assessment, better defining the scope of the project and mapping out the planning and legislative considerations required.
The piece of work we are currently focused on completing is the Environmental Values Assessment. We will share a summary of this report with the community when it is completed so you can better understand how the project will be designed to minimise impact on the environment.
We are also developing a Business Case and research into operating models, as well as undertaking the scoping stage of a Visual Landscape Assessment.
These assessments will assist with refining:
· The placement/location of camping and accommodation sites
· Accommodation details and design
· Trail alignment, surface and grading
As a result, the final proposed trail, overnight sites and accommodation could differ from those shown in the original Master Plan to ensure all environmental and landscape aspects have been appropriately considered. This planning work is expected to be completed in early 2022.
In addition to the original $2 million announced in 2018, a further $15 million was allocated by the Victorian Government late last year for implementing Stage 1 of the project. Stage 1 includes doing track upgrades and creating up to two overnight campgrounds including roofed accommodation options.
The planning and assessment work from the first $2 million will guide what is delivered for Stage 1 of the project, including which parts of the proposed 57 -kilometre track will be upgraded. This stage of the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
Completing the final parts of the crossing will be subject to future government investment.

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Mt Feathertop during Winter 2021
Answering Key Questions
We have been hearing several key concerns during recent months. To ensure everyone shares the same understanding of the project we have answered these common questions. You can get in contact with us at FHAC@parks.vic.gov.au if you have further questions.
Why is the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing being developed?
The existing walk between Falls Creek and Mount Hotham follows a 37-kilometre, three-day and two-night route as part of the 655-kilometre long Australian Alps Walking Track, which takes hikers through the alpine areas of Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. The Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing Master Plan outlines an improved 57-kilometre, five-day and four-night route which will take in the Diamantina Spur and Razorback with an optional ascent of Mount Feathertop.
A crucial element to the success of the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing is that different experience options should be available to walkers. These include a choice of tented or roofed accommodation, experiences both guided and independent, and having access to high quality information and interpretation.
This longer route is planned to support more walkers but avoid new facilities from being established within a designated ‘remote and natural area’ of the national park, which the current route passes through.
What are the benefits of the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing?
The project will bring multiple benefits to the local communities and all of Victoria. It will:
- Create a walking icon that draws walking visitors from Victoria and beyond.
- Increase the accessibility of walking in the alps for more walkers by providing facilities such as roofed accommodation for people who may not be able to, or may not wish to, carry a full pack with tent, sleeping and cooking equipment.
- Enhance the walking trail network in the region by providing more walking and overnight options people can use for a variety of walks.
- Support local communities by drawing a range of visitors to the area in all seasons.
Will there be significant environmental impacts because of the project?
Protecting the environment is a guiding principle of all the work that will be done as part of this project. An independent Environmental Values Assessment is currently underway to ensure potential impacts are identified and that the appropriate avoidance and mitigation measures are put in place. The planning process is aimed at reducing current and future impacts on the values of the national park. Once this is complete the results will be shared with the community.
Will people be able to stay in luxury accommodation on the Crossing?
No. The accommodation planned for the Crossing is small huts only. They will provide protection from the elements to allow sleeping, cooking, toileting and appreciating the landscape. The Master Plan outlines the two overnight elements of the walk experience - camping or sleeping in a purpose-built hut. It is important to note that independent hikers can continue to self-select places to camp along the route for free (dispersed camping).
The specific designs of the huts are not yet decided. They will be small and designed to blend into the environments they are placed in, with the aim being that they will be as unobtrusive as possible.
Will helicopters regularly fly in to service the huts?
Any increase in helicopter flights will be minimal.
Helicopters already fly into Alpine campgrounds to service them on an infrequent basis.
Three of the four new proposed campgrounds on the Crossing will be accessible via management vehicles. The one proposed campground not accessible by road will need to be serviced by helicopter. This may require a small number of flights per year to remove wastewater and service any other elements of the overnight site.
Will people be able to fly into the overnight sites without walking to them?
No, flying into the overnight sites will not be possible. Bookings will only be accessible for people who walk to them.
Is the walking track going to be turned into a wide smooth ‘superhighway’?
This is not the case. The upgrades planned to the track are minor and are aimed at making the track clear and defined to improve safety and reduce off-track impacts. In some areas, upgrades will incorporate design features that manage drainage and erosion.
How are Aboriginal cultural heritage values being considered?
Traditional Owner groups have been involved in the development of the Master Plan and will be engaged throughout the next stages. The planning process will also seek to further understand the cultural landscape, which values need protection, and what aspects of culture may be shared with people undertaking the walk.

Want to know more? Come to an information session
We are committed to regularly updating the community as planning and work on the project progresses.
We will soon be running community information sessions to give people an update on where the project is currently at. During these sessions you will be able to learn more about progress on the project, next steps, and ask any questions you may have.
Online Information Session
Wednesday 27th October 2021
7pm-8.30pm
Register via the button below
We would like to thank those community members that have provided feedback to date, this has enabled us to take concerns into consideration, provide clarification and shape the project.

Register for Information Session

Stay up to Date
Parks Victoria will provide updates and information as the project progresses. To stay up to date please register your interest to receive community updates please click on the button below. You can also email us at fhac@parks.vic.gov.au.
To learn more about the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing visit www.parks.vic.gov.au/projects. As the project progresses this information will be updated regularly. You can also contact us on 13 1963.

Register for Email Updates
 

hongomania

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Busy planning further environmental degradation *smh*

How much conservation could occur for 15 million

Do parks actually think this is some kind of golden goose egg that will solve their financial issues?

Whose getting the kickbacks / windfall for this

Whose idea was it

How did it even get this far along without it being stopped dead in its tracks by VNPA, greens etc
 

Xplora

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Whose idea was it

How did it even get this far along without it being stopped dead in its tracks by VNPA, greens etc
This was a push from Tourism Nth East and the RMB's. Not sure if they instigated the idea with Parks but then it all seemed like Victoria was missing out on the cash cow Tassie and NZ have. There is no power to stop it and the VNPA has done as much as others to try. All we can hope for is the considerations and concerns expressed by the various groups and individuals are taken into account when it goes ahead. It seems many of the matters raised are being addressed but there is no backing down on the stupid idea of a hut on the Razerback and offering the walk up Diamantina spur. Just folly. When nobody actually doing the walk uses this hut we petition to have it removed. That will go nowhere also as it will be used for people who want to walk in from Hotham. My head is sore from hitting it against the wall and I have bigger issues of concern at present so I will be passing on any further formal objection. Happy to assist those with more vigor if I can.
 

hongomania

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Melbourne
I received this today as an email. There does not appear to be any web based link to view it so it has been provided in full for you. Hopefully the links to register for updates works.

Date: 14 Sept 2021, 11:13
From: engage@parks.vic.gov.au
To:
Subject: Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing Spring Community Update
"Avoid new facilities from being established within a designated ‘remote and natural area’ of the national park" - Diamantina isn't remote and natural enough?

"The planning process is aimed at reducing current and future impacts on the values of the national park" - reduce impacts by building helicopter serviced huts....
 

Xplora

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"Avoid new facilities from being established within a designated ‘remote and natural area’ of the national park" - Diamantina isn't remote and natural enough?
You should understand how parks are divided up into zones. Ryders Hut is in a remote and natural area zone (from memory but check if you like) so it cannot be developed further according to legislation. I think that is why no toilet has been built there but one was built at Dibbins so I could be wrong. It would not allow more substantial buildings. Parts of the AAWT are in the remote and natural area zone but Diamantina spur and the Razorback are not. It has a a Visitor Experience Area overlay in a conservation zone. The zones determine what can be done. See this map https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/file_uploads/Map2E_Bogong_NWWy6TNW.pdf
I am sure the legals have been over this and determined a hut can be built on the Razorback, also Tawonga huts area. I don't have time to research this further but this should be a good start for someone who wants to.
 
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