22 May 2020

John Barilaro's road from Eden leads to, well, Aspen

| Edwina Mason
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Horse-drawn carriage in snow on Aspen street at night.

Could Australia’s answer to Aspen look like this? Horse-drawn carriages, twinkly lights and quaint streets with shops? Photo: colorado.com

Fluff your beanies, wax your skis and maybe get familiar with the term aprés-ski because Aspen might just be on our doorstep in a few short years.

OK, not Aspen itself, but the Australian version of the high-flying ski resort in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains (hopefully) replete with trees adorned with fairy lights, cobbled streets lined with cool boutique stores, and very fancy people – even celebrities – making it an essential stop on their perpetual world trips.

This is the vision NSW Deputy Premier, Minister for Regional NSW and Member for Monaro John Barilaro has for the Snowy Mountains, with investigations into an airport as part of the region’s Special Activation Precinct (SAP) now underway.

The objective of the Snowy Mountains SAP – one of four similar projects within NSW – is to increase year-round tourism and make the region, which at this stage includes Jindabyne’s town centre and Kosciuszko National Park, an unmissable place to visit at any time.

Mr Barilaro said now is the time for big thinking when it comes to planning for the future of Jindabyne and the Snowy Mountains region.

Aerial view of crowd watching horses in parade in Aspen.

Summer months in the Snowy Mountains could be all about celebrating the great outdoors, similar to in Colorado in the US. Photo: colorado.com

“We know the Snowy Mountains is a special place, and our community in Jindabyne and the surrounding Snowy region has been deeply hurt by the recent bushfires and COVID-19 restrictions, so now more than ever we will be bold in finding ways to make the region stronger,” he said.

Mr Barilaro said the Snowy Mountains SAP is an opportunity to transform the Snowy region into the “Queenstown of Australia” or the “Aspen of the Southern Hemisphere”.

SAP investigations are also looking at opportunities to similarly activate destination tourism at Eden, which acts as a natural gateway from the NSW Sapphire Coast to the Snowy Mountains.

The current expansion of the Snug Cove cruise terminal at Port of Eden has created opportunities to capture more visitors to alpine areas year round, said Mr Barilaro.

And while the SAP had a broader vision, he said it would still focus on the needs of the town of Jindabyne and build on the important town planning aspects of the original Go Jindabyne master plan.

These key aspects include the education precinct, affordable housing options, health care, aged care, a library, heritage centre, and improved community amenities.

“So we’re looking at all options, big and small, for the short- and long-term,” said Mr Barilaro.

“We know the key barriers to growth are capacity constraints for local tourism operators, and connectivity into the region.”

The NSW Government is working with Snowy Monaro Regional Council, businesses and a community advisory group to progress the master plan process.

Government representatives expect to start community consultation sessions in person during the coming months.

The Special Activation Precinct program is driven by the $4.2 billion Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund.

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Elizabeth Gossell3:39 pm 02 Aug 21

Pie in the sky – even if you do not loathe the idea of turning KNP into Aspen! I question the legal ability to take A NATIONAL PARK AND MAKE A COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT OUT OF IT. Kind of goes against the conservation theory of National Parks, doesn’t it? It will be a place for the rich, as Aspen and Vail are, keeping ordinary people out. Has anyone thought what would happen when the warming climate continues and the snowfall peters out to the occasional flurry and no skiing takes place? Economic ruin for the investors (hopefully NOT the Govt) and once the brumbies are removed, the attractions of the mountain park may diminish. Especially if water and services are not able to be brought to all the new development. There are so many variables in this idea, that it may prove to our equivocating government that climate change is REAL and can’t always be managed! I hope KNP as a National Park remains for the people of Australia, not just the 1% who can afford to pay for access to it!

Sheryl Greenup7:04 pm 31 Jul 21

You’re a snake Barilaro..you’ve allowed the wiping out if our brumbies, and our Australian history, knowing full well, the numbers were astronomically incorrect and fabricated.
You saved the brumby to save yourself, and now we see the real reasons.
You will never be trusted again

Dianna Colbeck2:04 pm 31 Jul 21

Is this Why The Politicians want to Slaughter the Brumbies?So they can Swan around in the Snow?
How Heartless can you get!!!😡
What other Hidden Agenda’s involving Death are being planned.

Alison Abbott3:55 pm 25 Mar 21

What about the environment??
All of this sounds great for humans , but you’re not thinking of the delicate & endangered flora & fauna that make the Snowy Mountains home.
It’s not ok to blame , then cull brumbies for habitat destruction & then demolish it in the name of human progress. I say get rid of feral deer & pigs leave i& the brumbies & the Snowy Mountains alone.

The real reason the brumbies need to go – oh and can’t forget snowy 2 – how to really mess up a pristine wilderness 😡

And it snows soooooo much in winter this will be a waste of money. Guess this is one reason the brumbys need to go as they’ll destroy the landscape and environment.

Joanne Amess8:30 pm 18 Mar 21

Is this the reason behind eradicating our beautiful heritage horses, brumbies?
I think that it’s a disgrace!

Christine Daley8:04 pm 18 Mar 21

How ridiculous this is Australia not Canada or NZ we just don’t have the conditions for such a thing all that,for 2 months of light snow! Leave our national park for us to enjoy with the brumbies and wildlife and nature that is what is important. Stop destroying our country.

And for some reason you think horses do no damage. They are destroying the park also but that is OK with you. Many places are looking to encourage tourism all year and not just during winter for skiers but I agree we should do it our way and not the Aspen way.

Dianna Colbeck2:07 pm 31 Jul 21

👍👍👍👍👍So True.

Jane Muldoon10:24 am 21 Jan 21

So this is why you all want the brumbys gone. Progress n more destruction

Maureen Milburn5:44 pm 27 May 20

This is the stupidest destructive thing I have ever heard. Besides the horrific destruction to the environment, the native animals, trees, native plants etc what idiot thinks that economically this would be a good idea. Australia has probably got the shortest ski season of any country in the world and yet someone thinks it is a good idea to cause monumental destruction to achieve what!
We are not Aspen, we are Australia. ☺️

May include walking tours to ser the famous brumbies

Andrew thaler12:31 pm 26 May 20

John Barilaro gutted TAFE.
Now he says there will be special education activation precincts..
Yeah, right.
Just like Eden *will* get a very fast train.

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