ALMOST 100 jobs could be created with the development of a cycling hub at Beechworth, MPs and officials say.
And they see the Mayday Hills site as the perfect spot for its development.
“It’s an opportunity to convert heritage buildings into something useful, Tourism Victoria chief Leigh Harry said on Saturday at a meeting to discuss the “beehive project” with the member for Murray Valley Tim McCurdy.
“It would be much more positive than having them sit there idly, wasting away.”
While the development of historic buildings has upset some Beechworth residents on heritage grounds, Mr Harry said the project would nurture a cycling tourism industry.
“It’s a really exciting project in the sense that it brings together a unique set of buildings and all the things you need to not only have a cycling holiday, but people staying there booking all sorts of experiences in the region.”
Co-founder of the Beehive Project and the Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship, Matt Pfahlert, said he would work with the state government and Regional Development Victoria through a planning phase covering heritage requirements.
“We are in the process of buying 12 buildings and that will happen after a subdivision is approved,” he said.
“The Beehive Project is the umbrella set-up for three entities.”
He said a company would own the properties, a business would operate the site and the cycle tourism training and accommodation and there was also a not-for-profit entity the Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship.
Mr Pfahlert said the region could become Australia’s premier cycle tourism and training destination if there was a little more awareness of what the North East had to offer.
The hub could open in about a year’s time and it would build on the $24 million cycle tourism already brought to the region each year.
Mr McCurdy said Mr Murray, an influential person in the tourism sector, had endorsed the project at Saturday’s meeting.
“Apart from educating Tourism Victoria’s chief executive with the meeting, we now have an influential person in our patch who can see the tourism opportunities in our region,” Mr McCurdy said.
“He gets a major say in supporting these projects and funding for them.”