A vibrant future is in sight for the Mount Buffalo Chalet with the Brumby Labor Government today announcing it would work with a local community group to develop an eco-tourism and accommodation plan for the iconic building’s redevelopment and reopening.
Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings said the agreement between the government and Mount Buffalo Community Enterprise – comprising business and community leaders – was a tremendous outcome for the chalet and the local region.
“Mount Buffalo Chalet is regarded as the ‘grand old dame’ of the Victorian Alpine region and we are very pleased to be working with the local community to redevelop the property and reopen it for the people of Victoria to enjoy,” Mr Jennings said.
“We are excited by the opportunity of working with the Mount Buffalo Community Enterprise which is proposing an innovative ‘social enterprise’ model of redeveloping the chalet and returning some of the profits to the local community.
“The group intends investigating an exciting redevelopment which will make the chalet a world-class sustainable all-year resort showcasing local food and wine as well as eco-tourism, bush walking and bike riding.
“The venture will create job opportunities for local businesses and community members and bring in valuable tourist dollars to the local economy.”
Mr Jennings said the Mount Buffalo Community Enterprise had invested initial funds in the process and the Government would contribute $200,000 to support the group’s planning work.
“The group is an experienced and well-credentialed network of business and community leaders which includes former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer, the Director of Brown Brothers Winery, John Brown, and the Beechworth Bakery’s Tom O’Toole among many others,” he said.
“These community leaders in North East Victoria have risen to the challenge of determining a new direction for the Mount Buffalo Chalet.
“Our Government will now work over the next 12 months with the Mount Buffalo Community Enterprise while they develop a financially sound and socially beneficial plan for the redevelopment and reopening of the chalet.”
Mr Jennings also announced that the Mount Buffalo Chalet would open its doors this summer, for a series of tours and a community day, while the Community Enterprise develops its plans.
The Mount Buffalo Community Enterprise group participated in the recent Request for Tender conducted by Parks Victoria to identify an operator for the chalet.