Huge news for Buller yesterday – The future of Mt Buller’s critical Water Storage Project has been secured with the Andrew’s Labor Government yesterday announcing a $7.5 million grant through the Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

Buller opening weekend 2018
Opening weekend at Buller was a success thanks to snowmaking © Mt Buller

Mr Anthony Carbines, MP took the opportunity whilst at Mt Buller to celebrate the opening of the 2018 snow season, to publicly announce the funding.

The Mt Buller Water Storage Project will deliver a 100 megalitre water storage facility within the ski area to provide water for drinking, snow making and firefighting. Identified as a critical component for the long-term security, sustainability and growth of the resort in summer and winter, the Mt Buller Water Storage Project has been eight years in the making.

Mark Bennetts, CEO, Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management stated, “An adequate supply of water is critical for Buller to grow during summer and will double the amount of storage for snowmaking during winter. The project will provide jobs during construction and help secure regional jobs during summer and winter in the years to come.”

The project will increase snowmaking capacity in the 51 hectares of ski area with existing snowmaking, and enable an additional 15 hectares of ski area to receive new snowmaking facilities.

Laurie Blampied, General Manager, Buller Ski Lifts said, “This announcement is welcome news for Mt Buller and is a positive step to a more certain future for our skiers and snowboarders. For Buller Ski Lifts we can now confidently plan to make more snow across more areas in the resort.

“We’ve wanted to grow our snowmaking areas so skiers and boarders can enjoy a more reliable cover on more ski runs, this now gives us the ability to promise more snow on more runs each winter.”

Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management and Buller Ski Lifts have a joint venture partnership in making snow at Mt Buller. Buller Ski Lifts has committed to spend over $8m in additional snowmaking and associated infrastructure.

“The project includes a range of environmental initiatives including an innovative watering feature to ensure the preservation of important alpine bogs and associated flora and fauna, as well as vegetation offsets on Mt Stirling,” said Mr Bennetts.

“Twelve months of environmental monitoring is already underway to establish a baseline before starting any construction and will continue there after. The water storage facility will also include walking trails and viewing areas.”

Planning approval for the project was received from the Victorian government in January 2018 and Environment Protection and Biodiversity approval is expected from the Federal government shortly.

A contract to complete detailed design and construction will be tendered later this year. The water storage facility is expected to be constructed during the 2019 – 2020 summer, with fill commencing during winter 2020, and be providing water for Mt Buller from the 2020 – 2021 summer.

Mt Buller and Mt Stirling see over 40% of winter visitation to Victoria’s alpine areas each year, host approximately 500,000 visitor days each year, help generate and maintain 2,600 on mountain jobs and many more in the surrounding regions, generate gross expenditure of approximately $600m p.a., and contribute $260m p.a. to Victoria’s state revenue.

The announcement – a chilly line up from L-R: Richard Leder (Deputy Chair, Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management Board), Laurie Blampied (General Manager, Buller Ski Lifts), Jacqui Jennings (Chair, Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management Board), Mr Anthony Carbines MP, Joel Dixon (Mt Buller Ratepayers Assoc.), Mark Bennetts (CEO, Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management Board)