A plethora of pollies launch bike park

Cutting the red ribbon to launch Harcourt's new Mountain Bike Park on Friday (L to R) are: Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford; Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards; Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D'Ambrosio; Mount Alexander Shire mayor Bronwen Machin and Minister for Public Transport and Major Projects Jacinta Allan.

Cutting the red ribbon to launch Harcourt's new Mountain Bike Park on Friday (L to R) are: Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford; Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards; Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D'Ambrosio; Mount Alexander Shire mayor Bronwen Machin and Minister for Public Transport and Major Projects Jacinta Allan.

Not just one but three state ministers - plus a state MP - played a central role in Friday's official launch of Harcourt's new La Larr Ba Gauwa Mountain Bike Park.

The plethora of pollies was some indication as to the expectations held for the new attraction that is forecast to boost visitors to the precinct to 25,000 annually in 2018 alone.

Five years from now it is expected to be attracting 100,000 visitors a year and generating 57 jobs in the visitor economy.

"We think the visitor numbers are going to go from not very many at all to 25,000 in a year and then up to 100,000 over five years," Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford told the crowd at Friday's launch.

"So I hope you're all ready for a bit of change," the minister added.

"I grew up in Castlemaine and I think Harcourt in five years is going to be very different to the Harcourt that I grew up very near, so lots and lots of jobs with that as well - 14 or so in the short term and closer to 60 in the longer term."

The state Labor government has invested almost $2.5 million in the project that has also enjoyed Mount Alexander Shire Council support with mayor Cr Bronwen Machin and the council's CEO Darren Fuzzard attending the launch along with several councillors and council staff members.

The attraction is predicted to spark private sector investment in bike-related services and hospitality and to generate $9.8 million in visitor spending within five years.

A throng of mountain bikers turned out in force for Friday's launch and ribbon cutting, with formalities centred around the new park's shelter, designed and built by Dja Dja Wurrung cultural enterprise Djandak.

Speaking at the launch, Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation chief executive officer Rodney Carter said the new shelter was a means to celebrating Dja Dja Wurrung people and culture as a contemporary part of the wider community.

"There are so many cultural values that exist here within this landscape," Mr Carter said.

Situated two kilometres east of Harcourt, adjoining Mount Alexander Regional Park, the new mountain bike park features 34 kilometres of trails that take in the site's stunning views and granite landscapes.

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