A watercourse on Mount Stirling will provide power to the visitor hub at Telephone Box Junction, creating an opportunity to provide food and services to the visitors of Victoria’s iconic high country, while protecting the pristine natural environment.
Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, Major Projects and Regional Victoria, Danielle Green visited Mansfield to announce funding for the Telephone Box Junction Hub project.
Telephone Box Junction is the pivotal entry point to the high country from the western side of the Great Dividing Range for visitors seeking to enjoy activities on Mount Stirling. Roughly 200,000 AWD and 4WD vehicles pass Telephone Box Junction on the way to the high country each year, many of which pass through without stopping.
The Government is providing $210,000 for the project, which will deliver Australia’s first Alpine Hub wholly powered year round by renewable energy. The project will include community shelters and information boards at Howqua Gap and the Machinery Shed, the installation of public toilets at the Machinery Shed, as well as the creation of an all-weather access track from King Saddle to Machinery Shed.
The micro-hydroelectricity system planned for the hub has been designed to have minimal environmental impact and will replace a large, noisy and smelly diesel generator, which is notoriously at odds with the quiet, unspoiled natural environment.
In depth research was undertaken to identify the best and most cost-effective form of renewable energy generation for the hub. Full flora, fauna and native vegetation assessments have been completed, as well as a cultural heritage management plan.
The area attracts horse riders, mountain bikers, dirt bikers, hikers and sightseers outside of the snow season and is fast becoming home to the latest cutting-edge snow sports, such as splitboarding and fat biking.
The project will allow local businesses to capitalise on these emerging visitor markets and support a year-round increase in visitor activity. It also utilises local suppliers and will create 14 jobs during construction with another 27 jobs expected to be created within the next two to five years of its operation.