Forest fee fury

Mountain bike event cancelled due to costs

GONE: Alpine Gravity’s Ben Watkins has moved mountain bike events from the Alpine Shire because of the new ACP fee structure. PHOTO: Vanessa Burgess

THE Bright Mountain Bike Festival (BMTBF) has been cancelled for 2014 because the organiser believes the new fee structure to use pine forest facilities is simply too high.

Alpine Community Plantations Inc (ACP) was established in 2013, and it has set up a fee structure for community and commercial recreational use within the HVP Plantations Estate within the Alpine Shire.

Alpine Gravity’s Ben Watkins said his mountain biking event company has been organising and running MTB events in the Alpine Shire for the past three years and the new ACP fees were simply too high for his company to absorb.

Mr Watkins said he was informed by ACP that every downhill mountain bike rider would be charged $15 per day to use the pine plantations in the Alpine Shire.

“We knew that fees would be introduced at some stage, but the fee structure the ACP board of directors came up with is the most ludicrous cash grab we have come across in sixteen years of being involved in cycling events,” he said.

“The fee structure meant that ACP would charge our Bright Mountain Bike Festival $44,000 in fees just for access to the pines for that event, and our Myrtleford event another $13,500 in fees.

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