Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Victoria specific bushwalking discussion.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Thu 02 Feb, 2017 5:45 am

Many of the MTB aspects or concerns are covered in the Greater ANP management plan. Regarding road cycling - Scody 3 peaks starts at Falls Creek with about 3000 entrants. Audax has a number of rides over Australia Day long weekend which are Bright centred and more than a 1000 cyclists. Consider the others who come just to help or watch and you have more than the FHAC will ever see in one year packed into 2 weekends. I had a friend doing some Audax rides and we thought we could catch up as he was not far from Tawonga on Saturday. He said it was a 'seething mass of humanity'. Enough for me to say see you next time your up let alone dodging more bikes. There seems to be bike events on all the time during the warmer months in the Nth East which will pull much more money into the area than this plan and without spending much. It is not clear though what number is actually needed to make this plan worthwhile as far as PV or the government is concerned. If it is about keeping the resorts relevant then the government may consider taking the loss given the amount of money these two resorts inject into the Alpine shire. Labor governments have a habit of spending public money on stupid ideas in an attempt to stimulate the economy. It is interesting though to see some significant building projects underway in Falls Creek at the moment. Ads for carpenters at present if any are interested. $40/hr plus accommodation.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Thu 02 Feb, 2017 7:54 am

Xplora, those figures are quite interesting. Do you know of any reasonably accurate figures for how much the rides put into the local economy?

Using the flawed DMP figure of a spend of $137 a day (DMP page 84) and two days this is $250,000 spent per 1000 people. The only expenditure that I can enivisage is shire admin and perhaps shire staff at a few points on ride days. The ride organisers would have their own traffic control.

So it could be shire spend $10,000, return $250,000. This is a huge return on investment, far better than the FHAC. Of course this is just 1000 people for one weekend. With more events, more people (staff, family, etc) and a bigger number of riders I can see $1-2 million a year spent. Whatever the precise figures the ROI is still big, and many will return to the region.

This line is worth following.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Thu 02 Feb, 2017 2:32 pm

I looked at the Alpine Resorts Governance Reform report and quickly gave up. The font is so faded as to make it tiring to read. Time was when screens had nice black fonts that were easy to read. this report fails the contrast test. Not happy.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby bernieq » Mon 06 Feb, 2017 1:16 pm

Just concluded a meeting with my local State member. As I've posted previously, he was unaware of the FHAC Master Plan until my initial phone call.

He now has a better understanding of why I think the Plan is flawed. I, also, have a better understanding of what are the more politically important issues.

Financial matters were not that important - the $$ are relatively small and the idea of increased eco-tourism is a strong positive. The exclusion of groups already using the area, in favour of a different group, was more important.

I spent some time discussing why this proposal could not work like the Tasmanian Overland Track, allowing independant walkers and high-value walkers to co-exist. The assumption being that it works on the Overland so it will work for this track - important to debunk that assumption.

Also important, politically, were potential environmental impacts and the loss of amenity (sense of remoteness) that building on the Diamantina would entail.

So, again, I would call on everyone who cares about this region to contact their local State member and at least register their dissatisfaction with the Draft Master Plan. Numbers really do make the difference.
Climate Change is like Gravity - ignoring it doesn't make it go away.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby madmacca » Fri 17 Feb, 2017 2:57 pm

Lophophaps wrote:Xplora, those figures are quite interesting. Do you know of any reasonably accurate figures for how much the rides put into the local economy?

Using the flawed DMP figure of a spend of $137 a day (DMP page 84) and two days this is $250,000 spent per 1000 people. The only expenditure that I can enivisage is shire admin and perhaps shire staff at a few points on ride days. The ride organisers would have their own traffic control.

So it could be shire spend $10,000, return $250,000. This is a huge return on investment, far better than the FHAC. Of course this is just 1000 people for one weekend. With more events, more people (staff, family, etc) and a bigger number of riders I can see $1-2 million a year spent. Whatever the precise figures the ROI is still big, and many will return to the region.

This line is worth following.


I did the Audax Alpine Classic ride over the Aust Day weekend. Numbers were said to be down a bit, as it clashed with the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (race and mass participation ride) - about 1200 I think.

Ride fees were ~$200 - assume that half of this is spent by organisers locally in the shire.
Accomodation - a little tough to estimate - the number of people involved means accomodation operators are charging peak season prices. some people split accomodation with friends doing to the ride as well. Others bring their (non-riding) partner and family with them. A minimum of 2 nights (starts are at 4am or 6.20 am), so night before, and night after. The organising club actually has a week of rides organised beforehand, starting with a cruisey rail trail ride, and working up to hillier and hillier rides. And plenty of people will stay for the long weekend. Say 2.5 nights @ $125 pppd = $310.
Food & drink. Assume $50 pppd.
Sundries. eg. petrol. Assume $50.

So total spend in the shire around $500 per rider. $600K spent in the shire. I was a cheapskate - brought my own food, and stayed in a caravan park (for access to showers). But plenty of riders I know were staying in some pretty flash accomodation to balance this out.

Costs to the shire. Some admin. As noted, event organisers provide their own traffic control. Also, some patching of roads in the week before the event, especially where cyclists are likely to be descending at speed. Although arguably this is just a matter of timing, as the roads would be repaired at some stage anyway. Certainly less than $20K.

And all of this is conducted on existing public roads - no damage to wilderness areas.

I note the Jayco Herald Sun Tour (pro cyclist race) was run over the same roads a week later - involving rolling road closures, etc.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Sat 18 Feb, 2017 5:53 am

Madmacca - I had to go to a funeral in Mt. Beauty on that Saturday and was then planning to catch up with a mate in Bright. I called him and said forget it. He said Bright was a 'seething mass of humanity'. Numbers may have been down but there were still plenty of money spent as you have indicated. Even the caravan parks need business. It is interesting the politicians see the amount to be spent as very little but when you tell the neighbouring ranger the amount of money to be spent on track work alone you have to pick his jaw up from the ground. That would run their office for 6 years. Audax gives money to local communities for the hire of facilities and never close roads. Scody 3 peaks closes roads and puts less money back into the community. Scody can bugger off for all I care but with 3000 riders they have significant weight. Falls does well out of them for that weekend and so do the lower towns. Falls Creek has shown it is only interested in opening up for larger groups in summer and until that attitude changes this plan should not be considered. If accommodation operators in Falls Creek do not see enough interest in summer activities to stay open then that says volumes.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby crockle » Mon 20 Mar, 2017 6:33 pm

Lophophaps wrote:I asked about the Environmental Risk Assessment that was meant to be with the DMP. No reply from the Minister....


The Environmental Risk Assessment is now available it seems (or at least a summary is) - 'Environmental Risk Assessment - summary of key findings'

http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks ... aster-plan

I have just read the 16 pages of this thread here and - having just returned from a Bungalow-Razorback-Bon Accord walk this morning - I'm appalled.

After I finished page 16 , I immediately joined VNPA, and planning to write some letters tomorrow to some parliamentary representatives.

Major thanks to Lophophaps, Xplora, paidal_chalne_vala for staying on this issue so hard for so long - and for the rigour and vigour shown . Thank you !
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby neilmny » Mon 20 Mar, 2017 7:08 pm

Just read it and it's a *&%$#! whitewash done from a desk in an office somewhere!

Objectives of the investigations were to .......Undertake a desktop analysis .......WT *$&# :shock:
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Tue 21 Mar, 2017 10:46 am

The ERA seems to me to be more or less reasonable. The biggest problem I have is the lack of detail. Toilets where, how many, what build cost, what ongoing cost? Bushfire plan, details, what build cost? Everything else, where’s the detail? And why was the ERA unavailable until nearly four months after the DMP was released and two months after submissions closed? If the ERA was available with the DMP then my submission would have been different, addressing the points in the ERA.

The FHAC is based on ideology, fundamentally flawed. The word is that the Minister wants a bushwalk, and one will be made. My DMP submission shows that the DMP is utter rubbish, the purported facts are fiction, the logic is warped, information that would negate the ideology was ignored, McGregor Coxall are incompetent, and the conclusions do not stand up to scrutiny. McGregor Coxall did not even verify information; they say so. Dills.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 21 Mar, 2017 11:35 am

Would you cough up big bucks to go on a user pays hike designed by people who have never been there themselves? I think not.
I just walked from Bogong Village to The Fainters and back over the weekend in hot and sunny weather. I paid nothing to do that and saw 3 people the whole time apart from the 2 others in my party.
Now why would I pay thousands to do the FHAC?.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby neilmny » Tue 21 Mar, 2017 5:47 pm

Lophophaps wrote:The ERA seems to me to be more or less reasonable. The biggest problem I have is the lack of detail. ............


This is what makes it a whitewash in my opinion.
I do engineering installations and job risk assessment is required before even moving any equipment on to site let alone starting work. If I was to determine a risk existed and just gave the type of answer shown in the ERA I wouldn't get another job.
My point is, saying, oh yes, we realise there is a risk, but don't worry we'll fix it, so that means the risk is low......you've got to be joking. It's a *&%$#! whitewash. Until detailed risk management solutions are given the ERA means nothing.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby peregrinator » Tue 21 Mar, 2017 9:25 pm

Lophophaps wrote:
The ERA seems to me to be more or less reasonable. The biggest problem I have is the lack of detail.


yes, lots of business-speak instead
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby peregrinator » Tue 21 Mar, 2017 9:27 pm

neilmny wrote: but don't worry we'll fix it so that means the risk is low....


Yes, neilmny, you have summed it up precisely. And in many cases, "we" actually means, "someone else for whom we are not actually responsible".
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 21 Mar, 2017 9:58 pm

Has PV been taken over by " Yes Minister" ?
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Wed 22 Mar, 2017 5:50 am

A number of interesting things I picked up. Firstly the report was prepared on 1/12/2016 (the map being prepared a month before) and it has taken almost 4 months for it to be released to the public and then only in summary form. The entire ERA was promised but perhaps it is too sensitive and would provoke more unwanted discussion. The summary says specifically it was a desk top and a more detailed on the ground risk assessment should be made. It is fair enough to commission a desk top as it may stop the project without further considerable expense. The residual risk for each is only low if the risk is mitigated. There are a number of risks identified which may have some difficulty. The BMO is one I can see (as I have mentioned previously) but this report does not list access when it mentions things specifically. I have been preparing a planning application and specifically dealing with the BMO for an accommodation place nearby and it will be difficult for the FHAC to comply. There is a lot more than an EMP needed to comply with the BMO. Vehicle access to High Knob is impossible so straight away it cannot comply.

The brief given to BIOS was in part to:
'Provide statutory and environmental planning advice to Parks Victoria in relation to:
– any significant issues or obstacles which must be considered if the project is to proceed;
– processes which Parks Victoria should follow in order to ensure compliance with statutory planning
and environmental controls; and,
– compliance with, and potential appropriate amendments to, the Greater Alpine National (GANP)
Management Plan 2003 which may be required in order to facilitate the development of the FHAC
study area.'


The summary does not go into this to a large degree so it would be interesting to see if the full document does. Note there is a potential amendment to the GANPMP to assist with compliance. That could have implications for the rest of the GANP and allow this sort of development to proceed elsewhere in conservation zones.
A waste treatment plan is needed and that in itself may make the project too expensive or difficult as it would need to include facilities for rest stops along the walk enough to cater for the projected numbers.
There are risks in everything and the goal of any risk assessment is identify potential risk and then provide potential solutions to mitigate those risks to an acceptable level. The goal of those now reviewing the risk assessment is to determine if the solutions are viable.

As an aside, I have always wondered how the RMB's have exerted so much pressure or had so much influence in decisions. My suspicions were they did back handed deals with politicians. I note the recent Ombudsman investigation into dealings of the Buller/Stirling RMB and they have 7 days to show cause why they should not be sacked for misuse of public funds. Also in 2007 the then Deputy Premier was given free accommodation at Falls Creek. Read the article here http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/perks ... v1w8w.html
Board members usually have vested (financial) interests in the resorts so there is potential for a conflict of interest. You might as well let the rat guard the cheese.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Mon 27 Mar, 2017 7:54 am

Competing priorities mean that I've been unable to look at the FHAC in detail. Some brief note.
Wild March 2017 has an article by Phil Ingamells of VNPA, also in VNPA's Park Watch March 2017. Phil has raised some good points.

It is much simpler and much less expensive to promote day walks based at Falls Creek and Mount Hotham, which are very empty in summer. “And there's a host of other serious management issues that need addressing, such as feral horse, deer and weed populations. These are fundamental things that a park management agency should attend to before it embarks on glam tourism promotion.” Well said.

Phil mentions the potential danger that many have cited. It defies belief that this can be dismissed by glib PV advice. As I said in my submission, people may die, and if this happens then the proponents will be called to account. Custodial sentences appeal.

PV says that parks contribute around $1.2 billion to the Victorian economy, “a figure that completely dwarfs its meagre budget.” This is an interesting comparison. What a fantastic return on investment!
Parks contribute “a relatively small but important $180 million to what is called 'avoided health costs.' … people who spend time in nature are physically healthier than those who don't”. So getting out in parks, being active, is good for the body. With obesity a huge health, social, individual and economic impost on the future, parks can mitigate this to some extent. How much? I do not know, but every possibility should be adopted. Like climate change, obesity is slowly becoming the new norm, accepted. I wonder what our grandchildren will say about today's decision makers.

The FHAC is mired in false information, poor economics, ideology, and ill-advised assumptions. As far as I can recall, in the last 40 years there has been no major conservation issue where conservationists have been proved wrong in the long term. This is our record, and it will be proven so for the FHAC.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Mon 27 Mar, 2017 12:39 pm

I give the planet 100 years until it starts to totally crap itself. So maybe health, environmental and other issues have become irrelevant to the great unwashed because life on Earth is doomed!.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby scroggin » Wed 29 Mar, 2017 1:24 pm

My favourite part is;
A benefit to cost ratio of 7.66:1.

You couldn't make this stuff up, oh they have. :shock:
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 29 Mar, 2017 2:29 pm

Indeed the DMP figures are fabricated. the following is from my submission. I am prepared to accept other figures but not the headings. What the DMP does is ignore the ongoing costs to get that 7.66:1 return on investment, and it's bollocks. My figures may also be bollocks but they're at a higher standard than the DMP 9not hard to do!), and at least I can add.

DMP Sub Page 31 P 6.22.png
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