Haunted Hills Bike Park Update: March 2019

Since the notification of the Australian Government Regional Jobs and Investment Packages funding for the Haunted Hills Bike Park (HHBP) in April 2018, announced by former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, there has been an incredible quantity of behind the scenes work rolling along. Gippsland MTB (GMTB) entered into a grant agreement with the Australian Government in May 2018 to the tune of $976,500 with a modest club co-contribution of $10,000. Almost $1 million for a dedicated bike park in Latrobe City! Let’s back-pedal a section, it all started in 2012 with a vision of:

“…a clear pathway towards developing Haunted Hills Bike Park into a significant ‘gateway’ trail network… …attracting strong interest from both local and visiting riders… …providing opportunities for genuine regional economic benefit.”

Seven years later and here we are!

 

The HHBP Steering Committee consists of GMTB club members Ian Johnston, Marcus Baker and Nicholas King. Our collective expertise originates in the areas of accounting and contracts, project management and outdoor recreation respectively. Together we have been liaising with Karen Tsebelis at Latrobe City Council to deliver the completed project by June 2020. The HHBP is expected to be officially opened in August 2020. Through a tender process, Trailscapes Pty Ltd have been appointed as the project managers to design and construct the HHBP. Project Manager Kain Gardener, and Trail Builder Garry Patterson will bring their team and rad style of mountain bike trail building to the Valley. For those of you that have had the opportunity to hit up ‘Shred Kelly’ at Bright in the Alpine Shire, you have had a taste of what is to come right here. Time to get amped up!

The HHBP project is currently on track, and site surveys have been conducted by local firm Beveridge Williams (Image 1) and by Botanists from Ecology Australia in November (Image 2 and 3).


Image 1: A former Latrobe City depot area has been levelled to provide a blank canvas for the HHBP.


Image 2: From left to right: Ian, Kain and Botanist - John Kershaw, inspecting the HHBP site.


Image 3: Upon closer inspection a rare ‘haunted bike’ was discovered. Someone better call ‘Bike CSI’.

Trailscapes have been ploughing ahead with the HHBP trail designs, and initial consultation with a range of our club members has taken place. Many interesting thoughts were put forward including track flyovers, pump track ideas and uphill berms for e-bikes (which has become a hot topic of discussion during this phase). Kain (Image 4) has developed the trail overlays and has arrived at 12.23 kilometers total distance for the HHBP. We are hoping to push this distance out towards 13.5 kilometers but are limited with the size of the park which is currently at approximately 39 hectares. We believe this will be an ideal distance for those training sessions and lessons, afterwork blasts and quick hit outs with friends. A perfect ‘gateway’ trail network to introduce more of the community to mountain biking and the wider cycling opportunities that Gippsland has to offer.


Image 4: Project manager and trail designer - Kain Gardener, pondering the trail alignments for HHBP.

The next phase of the HHBP project is shifting gear towards gaining all the required planning approvals and preparing site visits before the construction of the HHBP looms. The question that is often asked of us, “When will it get built?”, can be answered quite easily. As our best laid plans for making ‘Gippsland a mecca for mountain biking’ come to fruition, we hope to turn soil at the HHBP in June 2019 (all things going to plan of course!). The age-old adage applies here ‘proper planning prevents poor performance’, just as with preparing to ride your bike and having a great time!

The Trailscapes Team are preparing to come to Latrobe Valley by the end of March and will continue the planning of the HHBP. During this visit, GMTB will also be getting our riding community together over two days for a project site visit and a fun workshop to thrash out the final trail designs and to come up with some ideas to name the trails (for example ‘Haunted Thrills’) at the Haunted Hills Bike Park.

It’s all starting to become really rad! We hope you can join us in the fun of creating something special for the community right here in the Valley.

See you out on the trails!

Kingman
Haunted Hills Bike Park Superintendent


Image 5: Ian Johnson getting himself into the thick of it – Haunted Hills Bike Park, November 2018

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