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Work to create a unique mountain bike park for the Latrobe Valley is now underway.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester today met with representatives from Gippsland MTB Inc, local community and trail building company Trailscapes to officially mark the beginning of the work, near Hernes Oak.

Mr Chester secured $976,950 for the bike park through the Australian Government’s Regional Jobs and Investment Package.

“The new bike park will be a great attraction for our region and encourage people to travel to the Latrobe Valley and enjoy all that Gippsland has to offer,” Mr Chester said.

“The facility will promote, develop and conduct mountain bike competitions and events, organised social rides and functions.

“As part of the development, there will be public amenities, toilets, BBQs, shelter, tables and seats, landscaping and native vegetation.”

Mr Chester said the project would boost the local economy with visitors stopping in nearby towns.

“Visitors travelling to and from the track will be stopping in our local towns for coffee, a bite to eat and to fill up their cars which benefits our local businesses and our regional economy,” Mr Chester said.

“The park will give first-time visitors to Gippsland and the Valley a chance to see everything our region has to offer and give them a reason to make a return visit.

“The project will also support local jobs with four jobs created during construction and eight on-going positions.”

Haunted Hills Bike Park Superintendent Nicholas King said the 12.23-kilometre trail would be a gateway to mountain biking in Gippsland.

“Today is an exciting milestone for our project as work finally begins on creating this wonderful local facility,” Mr King said.

“The interest and passion for mountain bike riding is growing in Gippsland with four authorised MTB parks and more are being planned.

“The trail will cater for all ages and abilities so it can be enjoyed by both experienced riders and those just starting out.

“I look forward to the completion of the works and the trail being appreciated by locals and visitors as well.”

The project is expected to be completed by June 2021.

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